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Mums’ horror at hospital’s lack of paediatricians at Singleton Hospital

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Comments (5)

MUMS were “horrified” to find their babies had been born in Singleton Hospital with no paediatricians present.

They are said to be fully behind moving all services from mums and babies across the city to Morriston Hospital.

And because there were no adverse comments to the idea during an extensive public engagement exercise, it’s likely to be approved without the need for formal public consultation.

However, the future of another hospital — Gellinudd in the Swansea Valley — is not as cut and dried, and that will probably go out to consultation in the spring of this year.

It’s all part of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board’s vision of the future of services in this area, called Changing For The Better, or C4B.

This runs in parallel to, and sometimes overlaps with, the wider South Wales Programme.

Both are aimed at providing the best possible care within the resources available, and to find ways of coping with shortages of doctors in certain important specialities.

Last year ABMU embarked on an extensive engagement exercise into C4B to explain potential future scenarios to residents, staff and others, and to gauge their reactions.

This exercise included 19 drop-in events across the board area, held between September and December.

One of the biggest potential changes to this area could see Singleton losing obstetrics (childbirth and the treatment of women before and after childbirth) and neonatal (newborn babies) intensive care to Morriston.

Morriston is already home to children’s wards and a paediatric unit.

ABMU’s assistant director of planning Joanne Davies said: “There was very little noise in any of the Swansea events around (moving obstetrics to Morriston). It didn’t get a mention.

“In discussions we had with the maternity services liaison committee and with recent mothers, there was very strong support for that.

“A number of the mums hadn’t realised paediatricians are not still based in Singleton.

“They were quite horrified when they discovered they had just had their babies in Singleton, because that was perceived to be where complex births went, and there were no paediatricians on-site.”

Addressing a meeting of patient watchdog ABM Community Health Council, Ms Davies said mums were asked whether they expected services to be brought under one roof. Their answer, she said, was: “Obviously - why haven’t you done it yet?”

“There was quite strong support for that and definitely no concerns raised,” she said.

It’s now up to the CHC to decide which aspects of C4B can be implemented without the need for consultation and which of those require it.

Given the lack of opposition to the obstetrics shift, that will almost certainly be nodded through, although ABMU has emphasised the changes will be several years away.

On the other hand, concern over the future of Gellinudd suggests that will require consultation.

CHC chief officer Phil Williams said a meeting with ABMU officers would take place in mid-February.

“Then the CHC will agree what can move forward and what will have to go out to consultation,” he added.

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  • ABM_Health  |  February 01 2013, 12:02PM

    Hi pennybont, Thank you for your words about our doctors and nurses in the neonatal unit at Singleton Hospital. Unfortunately this article has led to some confusion. As mentioned in our previous comment, the Maternity Unit and Neonatal Unit at Singleton Hospital do have specialist doctors on duty at all times (Obstetricians and Neonatologists). Meaning mums and newborn babies do have the specialist doctors they need for their care at all times. We also have a separate set of Paediatricians (children's doctors) who are based at Morriston Hospital where our inpatient Children's Ward and Children's Assessment Unit are based. When talking about paediatrics not being at Singleton Hospital, Joanne Davies was talking about the Paediatricians, Children's inpatient services and the Children's Assessment unit based at Morriston. Not the Obstetricians / Maternity services and Neonatologists / neonatal services based at Singleton. Unfortunately, in the article and headline Paediatricians was inaccurately interpreted as "baby doctors", which wasn't what Joanne Davies was talking about. In the meeting, Paul Stauber, our Director of Planning, and Joanne Davies, were discussing the South Wales Programme with the CHC. As the article mentions, part of the South Wales Programme is an idea to locate a number of specialist services together in order to optimise the quality and safety of the services. Included in these specialist services are: Consultant-led Obstetrics deliveries (births); inpatient paediatric (children's) beds and associated services and highly specialised neonatal units. Joanne Davies explained to the CHC how in the engagement process, when talking to the public and mums who had given birth at Singleton, many didn't realise and were surprised that the three services, Paediatrics, Maternity and Neonatal were not already on the same site. They were not 'horrified', just surprised that the Children's Paediatric services weren't located with the Maternity and Neonatal units. The mums who had given birth at Singleton obviously knew about the doctors in the maternity unit as they had used the service. Both the members of the public and mums all agreed with the clinical view and idea that locating these services together made sense. There were no negative comments made about this through the engagement process, and the CHC also didn't raise any concerns about locating these three services together.

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  • pennybont  |  January 31 2013, 8:07PM

    The Health Board's own Asst Director of Planning Joanne Davies should know that you don't need paediatricians to support newborn babies. The NICU at Singleton has specially trained consultants and a fantastic team of junior doctors and neonatal nurses to cope with complex births. I had my daughter at Singleton and she was very well looked after. It sounds like Health Board management are trying to scare people so there will be less opposition to their plans - is this the way to go about it? Makes you wonder how low they will stoop.

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  • clarysage50  |  January 31 2013, 6:48PM

    "There are a separate group of Paediatricians based at Morriston Hospital caring for young patients there on the Children's ward and Paediatric (Children's) Assessment Unit." ...There IS a separate group of paediatricians based at Morriston Hospital NOT there are a separate group of paediatricians - who writes this stuff?? Grammar is appalling!!

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  • ABM_Health  |  January 31 2013, 3:27PM

    We would just like to clarify. Singleton Maternity Unit and Neonatal Unit do have specialist doctors present at all times. The Maternity Unit is staffed by Obstetricians; doctors who specialise in the care of women and their baby during pregnancy and childbirth. The Neonatal unit is staffed by Neonatologists; these are paediatricians who specialise in the care of all newborn babies. There are a separate group of Paediatricians based at Morriston Hospital caring for young patients there on the Children's ward and Paediatric (Children's) Assessment Unit.

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  • tellyon  |  January 31 2013, 2:54PM

    And lots more cuts to come. The NHS is being cut by hundreds of millions of pounds and softened up for the private sector. More profit for the surer-rich tax dodgers who caused our economic problems in the first place. The poor are encouraged to blame other working class people for our problems.... all the while the super-rich sit back and have a good old laugh at us. According to the tax inspectors union PCS there is over £120billion in unpaid taxes every year. Instead of cutting HMRC staff by half we should be employing more tax officers and go after the tax dodging corporations who are milking the poor while they put small businesses -that are paying their tax- out of business through unfair competition! Tell your union to fight back and support workers when they take action. There is over £750billion in corporate reserves, we should put a levy on that unused cash and put it to work creating jobs and homes.

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