TRANSPORT infrastructure that’s “fit for purpose” will be required to support healthcare changes which see services removed from Pembrokeshire.

Work with partners – regionally and nationally – will be undertaken to develop a transport plan to support its transforming clinical services plan, the health board said.

Hywel Dda responded to a question from a member of the public, Paula Taylor, at its board meeting on Thursday, (Mar 28).

Miss Taylor raised issues with inclement weather and road closures impacted on Pembrokeshire residents accessing emergency health care ‘outside the expertise and remit of the proposed enhanced MIU at Withybush Hospital’.

She also asked about accessing other services no longer provided at Withybush Hospital or in the community under new plans or those already removed.

Interim closure of A&E due to staff shortages or other reasons was also raised as an issue with residents struggling to access Glangwili if there is bad weather or road closures, along with A&E.

Her response from Dr Philip Kloer, medical director and director of clinical strategy and Libby Ryan-Davies, transformation director states that the delivery of the “future model” is heavily reliant on a travel and transport infrastructure that’s “fit for purpose.”

It must ensure “that all residents within the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are able to access health services irrespective of where they live.”

Work is ongoing with groups such as the regional transport group, local authorities and Welsh Government to consider improvements necessary they add.

This includes the development of a Regional Transport Plan and consideration of roads, rail network along with a Joint Transport Plan for South West Wales.

“We will continue to campaign for the provision of 24/7 Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) and Cymru interHospital Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (CHANTS).

“This, together with continuation of 24/7 responsive Wales and West Acute Transport for Children (WATCh) services and the commissioning of community access solutions which build and scale up existing successful models, is vital in providing additional assurance that critically ill patients will be rapidly conveyed to the correct destination,” the lengthy response adds.

It will continue to work with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust to support the delivery of services in the community and enhancing advanced paramedic practitioner coverage, especially for communities further away from hospital.

“We are working with WAST to support the delivery of our enhanced community model, providing rapid life-saving treatment in an emergency, and also providing urgent assessments in people’s homes, reducing the need for transfer to hospital.

“Any changes will take place in a phased manner, to mitigate issues that might arise in the transitionary period,” it adds.

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