HEALTH authority bosses have responded to the threat of a proposed legal challenge to plans to shake up health provision in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Protesters are hoping a judicial review could be put forward on the basis that there is a potential “flaw” with Hywel Dda health board’s three alternative plans – all of which would include the downgrading of both Withybush Hospital at Haverfordwest and Glangwili at Carmarthen

A new hospital incorporating A&E facilities would be built between St Clears and Narbeth. Ten community hubs would also be established

A 12-week consultation is currently taking place and a health board statement said: “We understand that people are anxious about the future of their health and care but we would like to reassure that these are three proposals presented by our clinicians as the starting point for a conversation.

“They are open to influence and we actively welcome any new ideas or views that could provide a better solution to maximise opportunities for improving health and care and overcome the challenges we face.

“We have already heard some useful new ideas and our clinicians will consider everything as they develop a model to present to the board for a decision in September. If you have a new proposal you want to share with the health board, please contact us by phoning 01554 899 056.

“We would also like to reassure our population that through our design phase, options to provide emergency and urgent care for the south of Hywel Dda either from Withybush Hospital, in Haverfordwest, or Glangwili Hospital, in Carmarthen, were considered.

“They were eliminated due to the distance of travel for this type of care that would be required for people in the neighbouring county (i.e. travel too great for people in Carmarthenshire when cited at Withybush and travel too great for people in Pembrokeshire when cited in Glangwili).

“Our consultation is wide-ranging and proposes a whole system change which is not solely about one hospital or one service.

“Doing nothing is not an option because by staying the same our health and care services will not be able to deal with the growing demand and expectation.

“In the face of ongoing staff shortages and the pressure on the money available, doing nothing would likely mean lower safety standards, worsening impact on health and reduced survival rates.

“This means we have to make important decisions about how to do things differently across our community services and hospitals.

“The need to change applies just as strongly to community services as it does to hospital services and we want to provide much more in our communities than we currently do.”