Planners and clinical staff at Cwm Taf University Health Board have begun design work to expand obstetric, neonatal and paediatric facilities at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil after receiving an initial £350,000 from Welsh Government.
The University Health Board plans to invest £3m to develop the existing neonatal unit, build extra delivery rooms and a maternity theatre at Prince Charles Hospital as part of the outcome of the South Wales Programme (SWP).
The initial funding has also been used to purchase equipment towards a second obstetric theatre as well as two additional birthing pools.
For Cwm Taf, the South Wales Programme concluded that consultant-led maternity and neonatal care, as well as inpatient children’s services would in future only be provided at PCH, while Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant would provide midwifery-led obstetric care and a Paediatric Assessment Unit.
To deliver this outcome an expansion of the facilities (particularly delivery suites and neonatal cots) are needed at PCH as well as at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Board members decided last month to continue to maintain neonatal services at both Prince Charles Hospital and Royal Glamorgan Hospital in the interim.
Although staffing the rotas at both PCH and RGH remains a challenge Cwm Taf UHB has recruited enough doctors to retain the services on both sites post March 1st, and hopes to continue the arrangement until the capital build is complete at PCH.
However, if running two sites proves challenging due to a shortage of doctors and is deemed unsafe, the consultant-led obstetric and neonatal service and in-patient paediatrics would be temporarily consolidated at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. A contingency plan is in place should this need to happen.