Ceredigion’s MP Mark Williams has expressed anger over the exclusion of beds in the integrated care resource centre planned for Cardigan and is concerned over the consultation process.
His comments come as Hywel Dda health board say that positive feedback was received at two events to inform locals about plans for healthcare in the town.
Mr Williams said: "The views of Cardigan residents are very clear and specific on this matter, namely that beds should be a feature of the integrated health facility. That is the clear express wish of the thousands of people who signed the Cardigan Hospital League of Friends petition, in contrast to the 900 or so people who took part in Hywel Dda’s ‘consultation meetings.
‘I deeply regret that the views of the people of Cardigan are not been properly taken into account during the consultation process. Had the Hywel Dda Board committed themselves to undertake a public meeting as many suggested earlier this year, they would have clearly heard the views of people in Cardigan and the surrounding area. Two drop-in sessions, at the Guildhall, and at the Cardigan show a day before the consultation ended - when minds had already been made up - was no consultation at all, and paid lip service to the term. A stakeholder meeting to which the League of Friends were invited saw the group outnumbered by Hywel Dda officials by three to one. The message still should go out, loudly and clearly to Hywel Dda that people in Cardigan wish to see beds in the hospital, and not beds commissioned from the private sector.
‘It is fair to say that many services, indeed an increasing number of services, could be delivered at home – but in no way can all services. The Health Board’s analysis is predicated by GP’s on the ground taking over many more responsibilities, and yet we know that Wales faces the prospect of a shortage of GPs in the future. I remain highly sceptical that Ceredigion can become the ‘virtual ward’ the former Chief Executive of Hywel Dda used to regularly lecture us about."
Mr Williams added he welcomed the judicial review.
Local county councillor Mark Cole added: "I am very pleased that a judicial review has been granted to look again at what has been a sham of a consultation process.
"The views of residents in Cardigan and surrounding communities has been clear for all to see and if the previous leadership of Hywel Dda had acceded to my request from earlier this year of a public meeting to discuss their proposals, then they would've been given yet more evidence of the community need for beds in our new hospital.
"The hope now is that the judicial review will deliver for the people of bro Aberteifi, where Hywel Dda have clearly failed to do so".
Approximately 170 people attended the events, held in the Guildhall, Cardigan on July 23 and Cardigan Show on July 30. The health board says that the feedback received was overall very positive with individuals feeling better informed about the services to be delivered from the new centre and more reassured about future healthcare provision in their local community.
Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Bernardine Rees OBE said: “I am encouraged that so many people have attended these recent events and taken the opportunity to better understand this new model of care for Ceredigion and how the new Integrated Care Resource Centre will benefit the local community.
“I recognise that people are passionate about healthcare within the community and with more information, more listening and more talking, we can work together to build on the work and activities already undertaken by the Project and Stakeholder Boards to date.
“We are arranging more events over the coming months and would encourage people to come along so they can be better informed and share what they have learned with their family and friends.”
The Outline Business Case for the new development is currently being submitted to Welsh Government.