With the health board currently working closely with Hywel Dda Community Health Council to develop a consultation plan to hear people’s views on the potential sites for a new hospital for the locality, councillors in Tenby have been asked to give their views on what it will mean for the locality.
The health board submitted ambitious plans to the Welsh Government, earlier this year, which if successful, could result in the region of £1.3billion investment into health and care in west Wales.
The foundation of the plan is to bring as much care as possible closer to people’s homes, with plans for multiple integrated health and care centres, designed with local communities, across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
A new urgent and planned care hospital is part of the health board’s strategy to be able to re-provide more care in community settings, by having a sustainable hospital model fit for future generations.
At this month’s meeting of Tenby Town Council, the Health Board’s document – ‘A Healthier Mid and West Wales’ on its proposal for future healthcare, including new hospital provision, was shared with councillors, with the town clerk going through a presentation briefly.
Looking at the map on potential sites, Cllr Duncan Whitehurst said that the new hospital location would be ‘great for us in Tenby’ - but he could see the concerns of residents from the likes of St Davids and Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, who would have further to travel.
He said he had spoken to Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan with a ‘heart attack scenario’ where a patient from the north of the county may not survive a trip to hospital.
Cllr Whitehurst said that her answer was that she would prefer to be on road to the new hospital rather than waiting two days at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest before being transferred to Morriston Hospital, Swansea for a cardiac specialist.
She stated that as it was becoming increasingly difficult to recruit specialists to Withybush, due to the age of the building and equipment, this new state-of-the-art training hospital facility would be linked to the University.
Cllr Matthew Ronowitz said that looking at the length of time it takes to get from Tenby to Haverfordwest he felt that there would be ‘winners and losers’ wherever the new facility goes.
Cllr Laurence Blackhall told councillors that the next meeting of the South East Pembrokeshire Community Health Network (SEPCHN) would take place in October and this Health Board document would be part of the ongoing dialogue.
He said that the next meeting would also deal with Tenby and Saundersfoot surgeries. Looking at creating a health campus at Tenby for integrating services, he said that there were ‘considerable opportunities’ to discuss and he and Cllr Whitehurst would report back to fellow councillors following the meeting.