The Welsh Government has placed Swansea Bay University Health Board’s maternity services under enhanced monitoring over concerns raised by members of the Senedd and families.

As part of enhanced monitoring, the government will review progress, observe, challenge and coordinate activity.

Commenting on the move, Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “This will ensure that the health board has the comprehensive support it needs to deliver the improvement plans it has developed and will ensure officials are well placed to assess progress.  The health board has welcomed this escalation.”

Meanwhile, the health board has launched an independent review into the matter.

The review will be supervised by an Oversight Panel, chaired by an individual not linked to the board.

It will also factor in the experiences of Swansea Bay’s maternity and neonatal services users and staff.

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The review will examine mortality figures put forward by the MBRRACE report for 2021 and 2022 report due to be released by the year-end, along with preliminary internal data for this year.

In doing so, the board looks to uphold people’s confidence in the services.

The board also highlighted the challenges it has been facing recently over staffing shortage.

It said that to address this issue, it has been on a hiring drive, with 14 new midwifery care assistants and 23 new midwives hired since this October.

Swansea Bay University Health Board’s chair Emma Woollett noted: “Our teams of dedicated doctors, midwives, nurses and support staff are all passionate about providing the best possible care for our women and babies but over the last couple of years, there is no doubt that their work has been made more challenging as a result of a UK-wide shortage of midwives and other registered staff. 

“That’s why we believe the time is right for a definitive independent review, overseen by an oversight panel that will be chaired by an individual unconnected to the Health Board.”