A SURGICAL ward at Prince Philip Hospital will be converted to take additional medical patients among changes to deal with a shortage of junior doctors.
The change to Ward 7 will result in delays to planned surgery, although staff are working to minimise disruption.
Between now and the end of the year, there will be fewer medical doctors available at Withybush Hospital, in Haverfordwest, after the Wales Deanery was unable to allocate core medical trainees for the usual August start, impacting Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Medical director Dr Philip Kloer said: "While we have managed to recruit service doctors into the posts ourselves, these are mainly international doctors and it will take some months before all the Visa paperwork and processes are in place and doctors are working on the ground in the hospital.
Temporary measures involve providing additional beds at Glangwili, in Carmarthen, and Prince Philip Hospital, and shifting patient boundaries further west.
Patients across the area will continue to be able to walk in to their nearest emergency department, and breast cancer patients will still be cared for on the Peony Suite at Prince Philip.
Initially, Ward 7, a surgical ward at Prince Philip, will be converted into a medical ward to accommodate additional medical patients, while a dedicated temporary ward is prepared at Glangwili.
Mr Kloer added: "We will have to initially postpone some planned surgical procedures, but we are working hard to minimise the impact of this, for example ring fencing orthopaedics and cancer surgery."
Source: South Wales Evening Post