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Families speak out

families speakBEV EVANS told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “All three of my children were born at Withybush and all of them needed special care after they were born. When my eldest daughter was born, I was told at quarter to six I needed an emergency C-section. At five past six, my daughter was delivered. It is half an hour to Carmarthen. If I was in the same situation and had to get to Carmarthen, there would be no way to get there.

“When my children have been ill the services at South Pembrokeshire and Withybush were essential. It was the middle of the night when my youngest daughter had febrile convulsions. She was able to be seen quickly, but that would not be possible if services were relocated to Carmarthen.

“When I was ill as a child with severe asthma and had to be hospitalised for extended periods of time, it would simply have been impractical for my parents to go back and forth to Carmarthen every day. They had other young children to care for and if services move to Carmarthen, families with young children will be left in an impossible position.

“Maintaining local maternity and paediatric services is essential.”

KELLY HUBBARD from Pennar, Pembroke Dock echoed Bev Evans’s sentiments:

“My youngest daughter, Chloe was born at 29 weeks. She was admitted to SCBU at Withybush but was too ill to be transferred elsewhere. Two weeks after she was born Chloe was transferred to Singleton for a fortnight. She was then transferred back to SCBU where she spent another four weeks. After discharge, Chloe need more care and was admitted to SCBU -again at short notice.

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“I met other mums while at the SCBU. With the nurses and the other staff there, we have become like a family. Without their care and support, I do not know whether Chloe would have survived. I am sure there is good care and a caring atmosphere at other maternity units, but this is our local maternity care and SCBU at Withybush.”

LIZ BUTLAND, a member of the Save Withybush Action Team (SWAT), told The Pembrokeshire Herald:

“My son Seth was a two month premature home birth in Nottinghamshire. When he was well enough, he was transferred to SCBU at Withybush, where he spent about a month.

“When I read about the Health Board’s plans for SCBU and maternity care, I contacted friends and we started a petition. I then joined SWAT and we took a 14,000 signature petition to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay. It seems to me that the voice of Pembrokeshire people is not being heard or is being ignored.

“What gets me is that, like a lot of premature children, Seth needs continuing medical care, often at night and at short notice. I would have to hope that an ambulance turned up quickly and got Seth and me to Carmarthen in the same time it would take an ambulance to take us to Withybush. Somehow, I don’t think that could happen.

“Even then, if that happened in the middle of the night I would be stranded in Carmarthen with a sick child, no transport, probably no money, and probably in my night clothes. And the Health Board think that is acceptable.

“Hywel Dda’s Board seem to say that the service at Withybush is not up to standard. I don’t know what they are measuring with: ask the families of people who have used the services! They will tell you about the care and love they get from the staff. We should not lose that. We really can’t afford to lose it.”