Assembly member Joyce Watson met Cardigan Hospital campaigners to discuss the future of health services in the area.

Cardigan Hospital and Community League of Friends have collected thousands of signatures for a petition calling on Hywel Dda Health Board to:

a) overturn the recent decision to close all in-patient beds in Cardigan Community Hospital

b) provide a clear timetable regarding future health provision in the Cardigan area

c) proceed with plans to provide a new Cardigan Hospital, with in-patient beds, as soon as possible

Mrs Watson, who sits on the National Assembly’s petitions committee, discussed the campaign with Eirwyn Harries, chairman of League of Friends at the mayor’s coffee morning at the Guildhall on Saturday (11 January).

Mrs Watson said:

“I am very grateful to the League of Friends for taking the time to meet me. I fully support the plans for the new Cardigan Integrated Care Centre, but we must have a clear timetable for the project. I will contact the health board and the health minister to seek that clarification.”

In a joint letter sent before Christmas to Hywel Dda chairman Chris Martin, Mrs Watson and Rebecca Evans AM questioned the decision to close in-patient beds, arguing that:

“Bed provision in (Cardigan) hospital serves a much wider function in the Hywel Dda area. We believe that patients are transferred to Cardigan hospital for respite and nursing care and that these patients would otherwise occupy bed space in Bronglais, Withybush and Glangwili hospitals that could be used for higher end medical care.”

In reply, Mr Martin defended the move towards an “Integrated Model of Care”:

“Over the last couple of years we have been working closely with our Local Authority colleagues in developing the service model for the Cardigan Integrated Care Centre. Facilities and services planned include the following:

• Community and Third Sector group working together to deliver health and wellbeing advice;

• Opportunities for partner agencies to collaborate effectively;

• Modern Primary Care Services including GP Practices, Community Dental Services, Community Pharmacy;

• Maximising the potential to use the facility 24 hours;

• Ambulatory care services – Consultant-led clinics, Specialist Nurse and Therapy-led clinics supported by Telemedicine/Telehealth solutions for remote diagnosis and support.

• Therapy services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, orthotics, speech and language therapy and dietetics;

• Diagnostic services including X-Ray, Ultrasound and Point of Care testing;

• Intermediate care beds and specialist rehabilitation services.”