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POWYS: PTHB maternity contracts

MORE Powys babies will be born in at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil as Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) agrees a new contract for maternity services.

At a board meeting on Wednesday, November 29, members backed a change of contract which outsources consultant led neo natal and maternity services to the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board away from its current arrangements with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board which covers Gwent.

The move is part of changes made under the “South Powys” programme.

PTHB director of nursing and Midwifery Claire Roche said: “The board is asked to approve the strategic pathway change for consultant lead obstetrics and neo-natal care is transferred from Aneurin Bevan to Cwm Taf Morgannwg.”

But the move could cause concern for many, and Ms Roche wanted to “assure” the board on the “suitability” of the changes.

This is due to a report in published in 2019 that highlighted concerns that women and babies may have come to harm because of staff shortages and failures to report serious incidents at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

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Ms Roche said: “In September this year the de-escalation from special measures to enhanced monitoring was enacted.

“There has been significant work done in their maternity and neo-natal safety improvement board and we have revisited our readiness assessment in preparation for these pathways being formally approved for change.”

Aneurin Bevan Health Board has moved its maternity unit from Nevill Hall hospital in Abergavenny, further away from Powys to the Grange Hospital in Cwmbran.

PTHB vice-chairwoman Kirsty Williams said: “What assurance will we able to give around any residual concerns arising out of the negative publicity and the history of Cwm Taf Morgannwg services?”

Ms Roche explained that a “maternity matters” forum meets monthly and receives a quarterly report that focusses on the commissioned services Powys resident receive from neighbouring health boards such as, Shrewsbury and Telford, Hereford and Wye and others.

In future, this report would include Cwm Taf Morgannwg’s service which would then be fed to the board’s Patient Experience Quality committee as a “mechanism for assurance.”

Ms Roche explained that many families in Powys were already using the services at Prince Charles Hospital and that this formal approval of the patient pathway would not be a “surprise.”

Ms Roche said: “I have significant confidence in our midwives to be having those one to one conversations with our women and families.”

The board unanimously agreed the changes.

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