Hywel Dda University Health Board to hold public consultation over new hospital plans
Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed it will hold a public consultation over three potential sites for a new hospital.
The new planned and urgent care hospital is part of the health board’s wider strategy to improve health and care in the region.
Two of the sites under consideration are in the Whitland area and one is in St Clears.
Earlier this year the health board submitted ambitious plans to the Welsh Government, which if successful, could result in an investment in the region of £1.3billion into health and care provision in west Wales.
The new hospital is not expected to open until 2029 and will result in the closure of emergency care services at Withybush hospital in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen’s Glangwili hospital.
In a meeting held today, the Board unanimously agreed that further public consultation was needed.
Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair Maria Battle said: “Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen, and builds on the foundation of our promise to bring as much care as possible closer to people’s homes through integrated care centres in many towns across west Wales.
“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.
“We promise as a Board to continue to listen and take those views into account at every stage. Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush Hospital before a new hospital is built.
“And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”
In 2018, when plans for the hospital and the downgrading of A&E departments at both Withybush Hospital and Gwangwili were made public, over 40,000 people signed a petition to save Withybush Hospital.
Protests have continued since then, with opponents of the scheme claiming extra travel to a new hospital could cost lives and have urged the health board to retain emergency services at Withybush.
The costings for the project include approximately £737m for the construction of the new hospital and between £210-£284m for the repurposing or rebuild of Withybush and Glangwili hospitals.
Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth will also be refurbished at a cost of approximately £126m and £109 million will be spent on updating Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli.
An additional £185 million is allocated to the development of community buildings.
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Although on the map it would appear that the proposed sites for a new hospital would be central in Whitland or St Clear they both have currently poor transport connections by bus and train around the regional. Glangwili and Withybush must not lose its emergency services which rely on fast response times. Any proposal would certainly need a greatly expanded ambulance services and the non-emergency hospital appointment transport system to meet future requirements, especially if we are to concentrate services into expert medical hubs. There is also the issue for hospital visitors that need easy transport connections by the public… Read more »