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From midnight all emergency and unplanned medical admissions will cease
The urgent change is being made on safety grounds, because of a lack of sufficiently experienced doctors to safely run an Acute Medical Service. An estimated 26 medical patients a day will go to other ABMU hospitals from Wednesday, with most, 80%, going to Swansea hospitals; and the remainder to Bridgend.
Neath Port Talbot residents who are 999 medical emergencies will go to Morriston Hospital , or the Princess of Wales Hospital. Medical patients who are referred by their GP as emergencies will most likely go to Singleton Hospital, with a smaller number going to the Princess of Wales Hospitals.
Other patients who may be seriously unwell, but who may be driven to hospital by car or other means are being urged not to come to Neath Port Talbot Hospital, and go to Morriston or Bridgend instead.
But the N.P.T. Hospital Minor Injury service is open as usual, and all other hospital services including planned inpatient surgery; outpatient services and diagnostics continue.
Over the past six weeks a multi-agency team of doctors, nurses, managers and representatives from the ambulance service and the ABM Community Health Council have been overseeing plans to change the Acute Medical Service.
These have included moving staff and beds from Neath Port Talbot Hospital to the other hospitals, but keeping 64 beds in N.P.T. Hospital for local residents to transfer to after their initial period of acute care is over.
A bespoke inter-hospital transport system has been agreed, along with additional triaging services to reduce delays. Additional beds are also being made available for a short transitional period to minimise the risk of delays.
ABMU Chief Executive, Paul Roberts, said:
"It is important to remember that this urgent change is being made for safety reasons and on the advice of senior doctors. Ensuring we do everything possible to offer a safe service for patients has been at the very heart of all our intense planning over the last six weeks.
"A great deal of thought and planning has gone into this process, and staff directly involved in the service have been closely involved. They have offered very useful suggestions and feedback during our regular staff forums and meetings which have helped to shape the plans. I want to thank them personally for their valuable input.
"As with every major change, however, there is always a risk that there may be some teething troubles, like delays. We ask that patients and the public bear with us. We will continue to do our best to rectify, as soon as possible, any hiccups which may occur.
"We will be constantly checking and - where necessary - amending practices over the next few weeks. We are determined that patients receive a safe and effective service with the minimum of inconvenience.”