Dear Editor

I wish to thank the Tivy-Side for giving my husband and I front page coverage on 5 November 2013. It concerned Hywel Dda’s decision to cancel all joint replacement operations from October 2013 to March 2014. I practised as a Registered Nurse and Midwife for 50 years and care deeply about the future of the NHS. I wrote to the Chairman of Hywel Dda Health Board on 30 October 2013 voicing my concerns, not only personal as at that time there were rumours that there would be bed closures as Cardigan Hospital, also that there were poor recruitment level of staff in West Wales. I sent a copy of this letter to Elin Jones A.M., Mark Williams MP, Mark Drakeford, Minister of Health for Wales, and Mr Spaeth, Consultant at Bronglais Hospital. I received excellent support from all of them. I wish publicly to thank them for all their help. My husband subsequently underwent a right knee replacement on 11 December 2013 and is making slow progress with treatment at the physiotherapy department at Cardigan Hospital. I received no reply from Mr Chris Martin for month, a letter arriving on 22 February 2014.

I receive a quarterly copy of Talking Health Newsletter and I attended a Focus meeting at Glangwili Hospital to discuss the Annual Quality Statement for the coming year. Participants put their view in a workshop setting. I spoke to one of the Talking Health team about how disappointed I was not to even have an acknowledgement from the Chairman of Hywel Dda. I also expressed my concern that in-patient beds in Cardigan Hospital were to be terminated at the end of February 2014. She made notes and promised to pass on my criticisms to the relevant people. However the final paragraph of Mr Martin’s letter gives me no confidence that there will be any in-patient beds at the new Bathhouse Medical Facility. He states that the Health Board remain committed to the Cardigan Integrated Care Project. We will have to wait and see how this will gain pace.

I have concerns about transport to in-patient locations. Cardigan Outpatients, is at present facilitated by Finch Square bus terminal. Will transport be provided for the Bathhouse site? Are there sufficient Community Care staff for the elderly in their own homes and what will be the cost. I cannot see this plan working until NHS and Social Service finances are integrated and this will take years of planning and government involvement. Meantime elderly patients will be funding care costs and transport costs on limited incomes.

Services are already being insidiously run down and passed to private providers. Nye Bevan, whom I had the privilege to hear speak of his plans for the progress of the NHS prior to the general election of 1955 must be turning in his grave.

Mrs Vera Cleaver