Swansea Bay University Health Board is proposing to change Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals into individual centres of excellence – something they say is designed to give people better access to emergency care, and cut through long waiting lists for operations.
The proposals will give each hospital unique roles, with all three working more closely with extended community care services.
Under the proposals Morriston Hospital would be the centre of excellence for urgent and emergency care, complex care, specialist care and regional surgery.
Singleton Hospital would be the centre of excellence for planned healthcare, women’s health, cancer care and diagnostic tests – delivering the high number of routine operations which do not need critical care.
Neath Port Talbot Hospital would be the centre of excellence for orthopaedic and spinal care – which means it will be the hospital delivering hip, knee and other joint replacements. It will also be the centre for rehabilitation and rheumatology, outpatients, day surgery and minor injuries unit.
Mark Hackett, the Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay University Health Board said: “Over the past eighteen months the NHS in Swansea Bay has faced a once in a lifetime global health emergency.
“As a result, we have had to make rapid changes to the way in which we delivered services and we’ve found that some of those changes have been tremendously beneficial, so beneficial that we now feel it is right to make them permanent.
“We must focus on giving our communities better access to urgent care, and at the same time cut through the long waits for planned treatment that have built up through the pandemic.”
A report into the changes also proposes greater use of digital technology and more services delivered seven days a week.
It also recommends the development of a new Hyper Acute Stroke Unit to deliver state-of-the-art treatment for local stroke patients.
Mark Hackett added: “It is really important that we now harness the power of digital technology by offering patients online access to NHS services wherever possible.
“Of course, some people may not be able to access digital services, or may not feel comfortable using them, so we will need to ensure their needs continue to be met.
“But many more people now have smartphones, tablets or laptops and would value the convenience of online healthcare.”
The health board’s proposals are also intended to help tackle the backlog of cancelled appointments that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposals are subject to a ten-week period of engagement and the engagement programme is being run in partnership with the Swansea Bay Community Health Council from 26 July to 1 October.
You can share your views on the proposals on the Health Board’s engagement website. Or you can write to the Chief Executive, Swansea Bay University Health Board, One Talbot Gateway, Baglan, SA12 7BR.