Recently, members of the ‘aBer’ hospital campaign group and I arranged for a delegation of current and former health professionals from mid-Wales to meet the Welsh Government’s Health Minister. The aim was to outline the many challenges facing the NHS in our area, and to urge the Government to think of the long-term picture.
What’s essential is that the future of the NHS in the Bronglais catchment area is considered as a whole. Decisions made now may affect the future of health services locally; rather than responding to problems on an ad-hoc basis, we need to establish a long-term vision. This will involve dealing with issues such as how to attract staff to Bronglais hospital, how to ensure that GPs can train locally and be appointed to take over when family doctors retire, and how the health service interacts with other services in a rural setting.
I have urged the Minister to commission a piece of research into what the health service in our area should look like in future – a really substantive piece of research into form what the NHS in mid-Wales should take in 10 years’ time. This needs fresh thinking, independently of the Hywel Dda Board, drawing on experts in rural healthcare.
I was pleased that it was possible to arrange this meeting between the Health Minister and a delegation of widely-respected doctors from Bronglais and mid Wales. The Minister was interested in what we had to say, and will certainly consider the points that were raised.