Ceredigion AM Elin Jones is to seek talks between the Health Minister and a cross-party and cross-border delegation of local representatives at the earliest opportunity in order to press the case for Cardigan Hospital.

The move comes in the wake of the meeting at the Guildhall on 7 January, which had been arranged by Elin Jones before the current crisis at the Hospital came to a head, with the Chairman and Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health Board to discuss the bed cuts at the current Hospital and the uncertainty over the new project.

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, said,

“This meeting with a delegation of the Health Board, including its Chairman, Chief Executive, and officers responsible for care in the Cardigan area, was arranged before the decision in December to close the remaining beds at the old hospital. But I’m pleased it went ahead, as it gave local representatives and councillors, as well as the chairman of the Friends of Cardigan Hospital and Mayor of Cardigan, the chance to convey the community’s dismay at the decision, and press for firm commitments on the new building.

“The Health Board gave no guarantees that there would be inpatient beds at the new facility, but that the option remained on the table if community-based care proved inadequate. I have deep concerns over whether such provision by the private and voluntary sectors can be a sustainable, stable way of delivering health and social care in a rural setting. These sectors play an important role but the NHS needs to lead the provision.

“The Board foresaw a date of 2017 for the completion of the new hospital, but I’ve no doubt that the timescale could be shortened with the right political will on the part of Hywel Dda Board and the Welsh Government. The next step is an urgent meeting with the Health Minister and a cross-party representation of the three counties concerned.

“The meeting stressed the importance of communicating with staff and the community. They expressed a willingness to undertake further consultation on the facilities that would be available in the new hospital, but stopped short of committing to attend a public meeting. I’ve no doubt that a public meeting would be welcomed by local people.

“The Friends of Cardigan Hospital and the Town Council’s petition has shown the strength of feeling very clearly. We must do all we can to keep up the political pressure to ensure that the Cardigan area has a health service with the full range of services that people expect and deserve in the twenty-first century.”