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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2006, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Health plan puts 'lives at risk'
Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth
Some acute services could move from Aberystwyth
Children's lives could be put at risk if planned changes to maternity services at a mid Wales hospital go ahead, says a retired paediatrician.

Dr David Lewis fears a midwife-led service at Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital could replace paediatricians.

The plans at Bronglais are part of a massive review of hospitals in mid and west Wales.

Ceredigion Health Board, part of the review team, was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Meanwhile, an hospital action group was formed on Friday in Aberystwyth in response to the review by a team across all local health boards and trusts.

Hairdresser Emma Dillon, who is 20 weeks pregnant, said she wanted to travel the 25 miles to Bronglais Hospital to have her first baby because there were three top maternity consultants there.

She said: "I'd rather be in that place where they can deal with everything... it's an awful thing to happen when you have to put extra mileage in to go down to Carmarthen."

One of the most controversial options would see the closure of both Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest and West Wales General in Carmarthen.

This could not only put children's lives in danger, but will make parents anxious
Dr David Lewis

Both would make way for a new "super hospital" based between the towns.

Some specialist acute care would also move from Bronglais and Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli.

Another option could see Carmarthen become the main acute district general hospital site - which would take over responsibility for specialist care, such as complex and emergency surgery.

Withybush and Bronglais would then be "networked" district hospitals.

A three-month consultation period into the review started on 3 April.

Dr Lewis, who worked at Bronglais hospital for 23 years and is likely to be involved with the action group, said children's lives, including those of unborn babies, would be put at risk.

A protest against any hospital changes at Withybush last October
An action group has been set up at Withybush

"This could not only put children's lives in danger, but will make parents anxious. Children get ill very quickly," he said.

"Having already travelled 10 or 20 miles to Bronglais, the worst thing for a patient would be to put he or she in an ambulance to travel another 30 miles to another hospital."

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones said her main concern was that Bronglais had been "offered no options" in the forthcoming consultation.

"The two options proposed for Dyfed both entail downgrading of services in Bronglais," she added.

In Haverfordwest, a Save Withybush Action Team has been set up and is being led by a hospital consultant.

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