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Welsh Government intervenes in all Welsh health boards



THE WELSH GOVERNMENT raised the escalation level of all seven Welsh health boards on Wednesday, September 13, amid concerns about their extreme financial challenges.

Due to the incredibly tough financial climate, health boards have been unable to submit financially balanced Integrated Medium-Term Plans. Those health boards, which were not already in a form of intervention for planning and finance, will be escalated to enhanced monitoring.

Despite already being the subject of targeted intervention regarding finances and planning, Hywel Dda UHB is off target to come within its TARGETED nine-figure overspend.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is disappointing that all health boards have been escalated to enhanced monitoring for planning and finance. We do not make these decisions lightly. Our decision reflects our very difficult financial position and the challenges affecting health boards.

“We are seeing operational pressures, long waiting lists, and an extremely challenging financial position in the NHS – but this is not unique to Wales.

“We will support health boards to improve their financial planning positions, but some difficult decisions must be made as we work through this tough financial challenge.

“In the coming weeks and months, together with the NHS, we will be working with the public to outline where savings need to be made to reduce these significant budget deficits.”


Plaid Cymru’s Health and Care spokesperson Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “All health boards in Wales are now in some form of escalated measures; this is serious.

“For the Government to publish this as a Written Statement with no opportunity for immediate Senedd scrutiny is a cynical move by a Minister that seems to have lost grip on the entire situation. It should not have taken until now for the Minister to realise the gravity of health boards’ situation and take action.

“The Health Minister must urgently address the implications of escalating intervention arrangements and provide both a clear picture of the financial wellbeing of Health Boards and a meaningful plan that gives confidence to patients, particularly with undoubted winter pressures approaching.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said: “This is a sad indictment of the state of our Labour-run Welsh NHS. After a quarter of a century of successive Labour Health Ministers, every health board in Wales is now at some level of government intervention due to poor performance.

“While it is positive that the Labour Health Minister is taking some action by acknowledging the dire state of our Welsh NHS, I have little faith, given the lack of improvements we are seeing in health boards already being monitored, that much will change in the coming months.


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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Hywel Dda UHB concludes public consultation on paediatric services



THE PUBLIC consultation period addressing the future of urgent and emergency paediatric services at Withybush and Glangwili hospitals has officially concluded. Organised by Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB), the consultation started on 26 May 2023 and ended on 24 August 2023. The consultation is an integral part of the health board’s broader strategy to enhance health and care in the region.

Following a number of temporary changes made to paediatric services since 2016, the health board needs a longer-term solution that will be in place until the proposed new urgent and planned care hospital is developed.

HDdUHB worked with its expert clinical and paediatric teams, staff, patients, parents and wider public and other stakeholders to identify options and evaluate them. A short-list of three options for future services were then shared to form the public consultation.

Professor Phil Kloer, Hywel Dda University Health Board Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Medical Director, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has participated in this consultation, whether that be attending one of our in-person or online events. We look forward to the next steps in the consultation process as we consider all the feedback received, to enable us to make the best decision on the future options for urgent and emergency services for children and young people at Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals.”

The health board will now begin considering the options and the consultation responses in a process called ‘conscientious consideration’. At this stage there is no preferred option for how urgent and emergency paediatric services at Withybush Hospital and Glangwili Hospital will be delivered.

For all three options, it is important to note that access to children’s emergency care will be retained at Glangwili Hospital’s emergency department, and minor injuries for children will continue to be treated at both Withybush and Glangwili hospitals.

Opinion Research Services (ORS), an independent social research organisation, has collected and will analyse the response to the consultation questions from staff and members of the public. This feedback has been gathered through online and paper questionnaires, and in-person and virtual consultation events and meetings.

As an independent and impartial organisation, ORS will present their report to the health board in the autumn. Throughout the consultation, the consultation process is guided by independent experts the Consultation Institute. The Board will then formally start their conscientious consideration process.

This rigorous review will ensure that Board members, which includes Executive Directors and Independent Members, can thoroughly evaluate all views gained through the consultation and follow a model that seeks to be unbiased and acknowledge relevant public concerns.

The consultation findings and stakeholders’ views will be presented to the Board at the end of November 2023 for a decision on the future options for the urgent and emergency services for children and young people at Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals.

For more information on the consultation, please visit the Health Board’s website:

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