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Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out



HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“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.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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Baby loss remembrance service resumes at Withybush Hospital



THE ANNUAL baby loss remembrance service will return on Thursday 12 October 2023 at St Luke’s Chapel in Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest at 7pm.

The ‘Forget Me Not’ service coincides with Baby Loss Awareness week (9-15 October) and is arranged by Midwifery and Bereavement teams and led by the Spiritual Care Department (Chaplaincy).

The service has long been a source of comfort for parents and families and provides an opportunity for people to reflect and to come together to pay respects and write a message in a safe space.

Euryl Howells, Senior Chaplain at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “This service of remembrance is an important moment for parents and families who have been affected by the very sad experience of babies who have passed away.

“Infant and pregnancy loss is a very lonely grief. This space is a time to gather and remember precious little ones whether the loss was recent or in the more distant past.”

In recognition of Baby Loss Awareness week, Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen and Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth will have pink and blue lights in the Chapel/Quiet Room. The week culminates in a ‘Wave of Light’ on 15 October, which is recognised across the world.

A candle (battery operated) will be lit at 7pm by the Senior Chaplain in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

If you are unable to attend the service and wish to commemorate your loved one, please send a message to [email protected] by Tuesday 10 October 2023

Should you require further information please contact Euryl Howells by telephone or email 01267 227563 or [email protected]

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Plans for new hospital in west Wales reduced to two sites



The building of a new hospital in west Wales, which could result in around £1.3billion of investment into health and care will now be a choice of two sites, Whitland or St Clears, following a health board meeting today.

An initial 11 sites were nominated, which was reduced to five, and then three last year.

Members of Hywel Dda University Health Board, at an extraordinary board meeting, were asked to whittle down the three proposed sites of Whitland’s Spring Gardens – formerly site 12 – and Ty Newydd – formerly site C – sites and St Clears -formerly site 17 – to two.

A 12-week public consultation was held from February to May of this year, with 17 public drop-in events; more respondents rate all sites as poor, but of the sites, overall views are more evenly balanced in relation to St Clears.

A report for board members said there were widespread concerns raised about plans for a new hospital, primarily around geography/access, citing poor road infrastructure and traffic congestion, and a concern about ambulance response times, supporting refurbishing the existing Glangwili and Withybush sites and retaining services there but also recognising that a modern, fit-for-purpose hospital of sufficient size not possible on the existing sites.

Alternative sites were suggested – later rejected – included the showground in Nantyci, Canaston Bridge, and Penblewin, near Narberth.

The report also highlighted positive comments, saying those in favour felt it would be beneficial for the area economically/in improving health and wellbeing outcomes, help overcome the board’s staffing challenges, offer specialisms/up-to-date technology, and provide modern environments for patients and staff.

It said the St Clears site had drawn the most positive responses, but added: “However, it is important to note that views differ markedly by respondents’ geography/nearest current hospital.”

Of the three sites, Spring Gardens, the cheapest option, drew positives for being equidistant between Glangwili and Withybush, being closer to Pembrokeshire, and close to the A40 trunk road, but negatives were raised about poor road infrastructure, and the site being a complicated and costly sale due to multiple landowners, with limited room for expansion, and clinical/recruitment risks of siting a hospital further west.

Tŷ Newydd, the largest site, gained positives for its nearness to Pembrokeshire, the only site with potential for on-site renewable energy, the nearest to a railway station, and being owned by the county council.

Withybush Hospital Medical Committee stated: “To consider the other two sites when you have a perfect site in public ownership which can be expanded considerably is a no-brainer.”

However, negatives were raised about the lack of an access road, flooding potential, recruitment risks, and fears a large hospital in Whitland would destroy the character of the town.

Positives for the St Clears site – which has a single private landowner – included being geographically central and near large centres of population, no flood risk, easier to recruit/retain staff, less disruptive to local residents, but concerns were raised about the time taken to travel there from the west.

Summarising the lengthy meeting after a short break before a decision was made, Chair Maria Battle said: “Today is another important step to delivering our strategy of independent health and care centres, with investment in repurposing Glangwili and Withybush hospitals, bringing care closer to home.

“A vital part, now more than ever, is a new urgent and planned hospital fit for future generations. Based on the evidence we have been asked to consider reducing the shortlist from three to two sites.”

She said St Clears had the largest public support, other than residents to the west, but had commercial risks associated with it, while Spring Gardens had the highest commercial risk; Ty Newydd – the majority of the site proposed being owned by Carmarthenshire County Council -having the lowest commercial risk, but was the least liked by the public.

“I propose, taking all the evidence into account, that we take forward, as a board, the Ty Newydd site in Whitland and the St Clears site.”

Members backed this, and other recommendations, with the three suggested alternative sites of Canaston Bridge, Penblewin and Nantyci rejected.

The chair finished: “Never has it been more urgent that we in west Wales have a new hospital that is fit for purpose and fit for the future; let’s keep pushing forward to realise the vision that everyone in west Wales wants.”

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Health Board progresses with site selection for new hospital



AT an extraordinary meeting of the Board on Thursday (Sept 14), Hywel Dda University Health Board members discussed the findings of the recent public consultation, together with the latest technical and commercial information, on the three potential sites for a new urgent and planned care hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda region.

The Board meeting follows the public consultation held between the 23 February and 19 May 2023 that invited the public, health board staff, partner organisations, and the broader community to share their views on three potential site options for a proposed new urgent and emergency care hospital; two located near Whitland and one near St Clears.

Following thorough consideration of the consultation findings that were independently collated and analysed by Opinion Research Services (ORS), together with further technical information on the potential three sites, and commercial information, Board members decided to reduce the shortlist of sites for the new urgent and planned care hospital from three sites to two sites. The Board decided to progress with Tŷ Newydd, Whitland, and the site at St Clears. These sites were chosen following consideration of the consultation report, Equalities Health Impact Assessment, Technical, Biophilic, Clinical and Workforce appraisals. It was decided that site at Whitland Spring Gardens would not be taken forward for further consideration.

Opinion Research Services (ORS) was commissioned to independently advise, collate, and manage the consultation responses. Their comprehensive report on the consultation findings is now available for review on the health board’s website: The consultation process for the selection of a site for the new hospital has achieved a Best Practice Quality Assurance from the Consultation institute.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive Officer for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Today’s decision marks a step closer to identifying the site for the planned urgent and planned care hospital that is an important part of our Healthier Mid and West Wales Strategy.

“Our strategy also includes plans for a series of integrated health and care centres across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire, and investment in Glangwili and Withybush hospitals to ensure they continue to provide important care for our communities. Our new hospital will be a pivotal piece in enhancing specialist care services in Hywel Dda and will enable us to provide a sustainable hospital model fit for future generations.”

The health board submitted ambitious plans to the Welsh Government, in early 2022, which if successful, could result in the region of £1.3billion investment into health and care in west Wales. The foundation of the plan is to bring as much care as possible closer to people’s homes, with plans for multiple integrated health and care centres, designed with local communities, across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

The extraordinary board meeting was open to members of the public and available to view online. The Board papers that were discussed at the meeting, which included further technical information relating to the three sites, can be accessed on the health board’s website:

Lee Davies, Executive Director of Strategy and Planning a Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are very grateful to members of the public, staff, partner organisations, and the wider community for their active participation in the public consultation process regarding the new hospital site. Their valuable insights and thoughtful feedback have provided a solid foundation for the Board’s discussions and decision-making process.”

“The Health Board looks forward to continued collaboration with all stakeholders and communities as we work together towards the creation of a sustainable and comprehensive healthcare model for the region.”

Following today’s decision, the health board will continue its planning and development process. On the basis that the Programme Business Case receives endorsement from Welsh Government, the Strategic Outline Case will be presented to Board, and is the next step in attaining funding and support. We anticipate this is likely towards the end of the year.

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