Chief Executive Steve Moore said, ‘We acknowledge this petition, and clearly we still have a significant challenge ahead in demonstrating to the Pembrokeshire public the safety of the services we provide our children from both Withybush and Glangwili hospitals.

‘The majority of healthcare for children is still provided in Pembrokeshire, through our GP services, including out-of-hours; the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush Hospital, which is open every day of the week from 10am to 10pm; and through provision of minor injury care for children from Withybush Emergency and Urgent Care Centre, 24 hours a day.

‘For example, in recent months, approximately 76 per cent of emergency attendances to the PACU at Withybush were seen and treated there and children discharged home, and 24 per cent were transferred elsewhere, the vast majority to Glangwili Hospital. A recent independent expert report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health concluded changes were safe and sustainable, with improved compliance with national and professional service standards and no evidence of worsened outcomes in paediatric or maternity care.

‘The report did highlight areas where further improvement is needed, and we accept that not all families have received the best of experiences. We continue to work hard with our doctors, nurses and service managers to learn and make improvements. We have already made provision to support vulnerable families with transport, and we are progressing planning for Phase Two capital project to improve accommodation at Glangwili Hospital, as well plans to move the PACU at Withybush Hospital so it is closer and more easily accessible to the Emergency and Urgent Care Centre, strengthening support between the two departments.’

He continued, ‘There is a meeting with our clinicians next week to review paediatric patient pathways in light of some of the concerns we have heard from families to review if there are improvements that can be made either to frontline services and communication between healthcare professionals or to communication with the general public about how to access these services and what to expect from them.

‘We are also looking very closely at two specific recommendations from the expert report, around merging paediatric consultant teams and bringing all major gynaecological surgery onto one site, as we believe we need further engagement with our clinical staff and patients to understand any implications and develop solutions together.’