PLANS to reshape key hospital services such as A&E and paediatrics in South Wales will be highlighted across Gwent next month at a series of on-the-road events.

The proposals - which also involve obstetrics and neo-natal care - would see the number of hospitals in the region providing such services reduced from the current nine to four or five.

In Gwent, the proposal is to concentrate such services at the Specialist and Critical Care Centre planned for the Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital site. Currently these services are provided at the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals.

The concept of reducing the number of hospitals at which these services are provided is detailed in the report Matching the Best in the World: Challenges facing hospital services in South Wales, published last month.

It reveals that problems in finding enough staff to cover these services as they are currently set up means expert standards are increasingly difficult to meet.

Too much dependence on locum doctor cover is a big issue, and at some hospital sites too few patients are seen on an annual basis for staff to develop or maintain key skills.

Plans for the Specialist and Critical Care Centre long predate the proposals contained in the report, and Gwent health bosses believe the idea of a centre for the treamtent of the area's sickest patients is strengthened by the report's contention that such services are too thinly spread.

The views of patients, public and staff are being sought over a three-month consultation period which ends on December 19. Views can be aired at the following venues: Monday November 5: Tredegar Shopping Centre, 2.30pm-5pm; Wednesday November 7, Chepstow Co-op, 11am-1pm; Thursday November 8, Cwmbran library, 4pm-6pm; Monday November 12, Waitrose, Monmouth, 4pm-6.30pm; Thursday November 15, Anvil Court, Abertillery, 11am-1pm; Friday November 16, Tesco, Spytty, Newport, 11am-2pm; Thursday November 22, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, Ystrad Mynach - reception area 4pm-6pm; Friday November 23, Torfaen Civic Centre, Pontypool, 11am-1pm; Tuesday November 27, Waitrose, Abergavenny, 11am-1pm.

• The Matching the Best in the World report can be found at