Dear Editor

The long-awaited report of the Mid Wales Health Study was published recently.

It is a comprehensive study on the issues facing the Health Authorities and the Welsh Government as it affects rural areas. It says very little about the proposed developments in Cardigan.

Although the Study adopted the description of Mid Wales as covering Ceredigion, Powys and Meirionnydd it was stated that it was beyond the Study's terms of reference to explore and comment on the needs of Cardigan with its catchment area of 40,000. The Report refers briefly to the changes in services at Cardigan Hospital and how the changes were made and communicated. In particular it reported that the Health Board needs to do more to reduce the impact of travel on patients and in particular that local services are visible and trusted. Amen to that.

I have attempted to decipher the terms of reference and have endeavored to discover why Cardigan Hospital was largely omitted. I have failed and have asked Prof. Longley the Report's author for his explanation. Part of the problem regarding communication is the jargon used by health professionals and civil servants. Stakeholders have told me of being overawed by these professionals at meetings which cannot be conducive for open and fair discussion. A good dose of plain English or indeed, Cymraeg, would perhaps alleviate the gross mistrust in which the Hywel Dda Health Board finds itself.

The report also researched health provision in other parts of Britain. There are General Hospitals akin to Bronglais at both Inverness and Elgin which are 38 miles apart. In between the two large hospitals is Nairn County Hospital which has excellent facilities including 19 inpatient beds. This model should be the basis for health developments in Aberteifi.

Gwylon Phillips