NHS shakeup: Singleton Hospital maternity services switch among plans for future of health
MATERNITY and other services for mums and babies could be lifted wholesale from Singleton Hospital and transferred to Morriston instead.
The idea — and it is no more than that for now at least — is part of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board’s vision for the future called Changing For The Better, or C4B for short.
Unveiled at a special board meeting yesterday, C4B also suggests some services at Morriston could move to other hospitals in the area to accommodate the additional workload.
C4B looks at seven key service areas: unscheduled care, long-term conditions, care for frail, older people, care of children and young people; maternity and newborns, staying healthy and planned care.
Running in parallel with C4B, and overlapping in parts, ABM, Cardiff and Vale, Cwm Taf and Powys health boards have been working on the wider South Wales Programme (see opposite page).
Discussions here have centred on major injury, major sickness or problems during childbirth. ABM has embarked on a lengthy public engagement process on C4B, which incorporates the relevant issues to have emerged from the South Wales Programme.
At the moment there are no firm proposals, only potential scenarios.
Firm proposals will follow next year, after the public engagement, and will go out for formal consultation.
Possibly the biggest change in this area is the possible transfer of obstetrics (childbirth and the treatment of women before and after childbirth) from Singleton to Morriston.
Health officials are also looking at a South Wales-wide major trauma service for people suffering multiple injuries, such as those who have been in serious road accidents.
This could be based in Morriston, Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, or split between the two.
ABM chief executive Paul Roberts said the process was about providing safe and sustainable services in the long term.
Making no changes, he said, was not an option. Otherwise, the next few years would see a number of service crisis points where individual hospitals would not be able to cope and emergency action would be needed.
“People’s health and health care is very important to them, so there are always very contentious issues,” said Mr Roberts. “Taking a long, hard look at the way health services are organised and making proposals to change them and make them sustainable is a once in a generation opportunity.
“We have a heavy burden on us to make sure we get it right for the long term, and there are a few nettles that have to be grasped.”
Director of clinical strategy, Hamish Laing, said the ideas would “deliver a vision for what we believe will be a world-class health care system.”
He added: “We are now ready to share our ideas with staff and the more than 500,000 citizens we are here to serve.”
Changes are all up for discussion
CHANGING For The Better and the South Wales Programmes are, at this stage, about ideas rather than firm proposals.
Yesterday’s launch of both programmes signalled the start of a “public engagement” exercise that will last until Christmas.
ABMU will use the feedback from staff and residents to help it shape preferred option proposals that will go out for formal consultation next year.
So how do people set about making their feelings known?
The board has organised a series of drop-in days across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend.
These have already been listed in the Evening Post but ABM has promised to add more dates and venues, including sessions in Gower and in Neath and Port Talbot town centres.
The drop-in days, along with copies of the Changing For The Better and South Wales Programme engagement documents, videos and more are available at www.changingforthebetter.org.uk.
ABM has said it will also be putting hard copies of Changing For The Better in NHS premises and other public buildings.
People can comment on them by registering with YouTellUs (www.YouTellUs.org), an online community developed by Swansea University.
Alternatively, they can email: ABM.C4B@wales.nhs.uk or call 01792 704019.
Those who prefer to share their views in writing should address them to: Changing For The Better Team, ABM University Health Board, 1 Talbot Gateway, Baglan, Port Talbot. SA12 7BR.
Board chief executive Paul Roberts said: “This is a real opportunity to reshape NHS services for the future and I would encourage as many people as possible to join the debate.”
The results will be independently analysed and will be followed, in January, by discussions between ABM and the Community Health Council to agree a way forward.
Consultation is likely to take place next spring.