“PREVENTIVE and proactive care as the bedrock of the system” is needed as Hywel Dda Health Board develops its plan for the “modern world”, councillors have been told.

Hywel Dda University Health Board presented its proposals for the future of healthcare – that formed the basis of a summer consultation – to Pembrokeshire county councillors on Tuesday (October 30).

The partnerships overview and scrutiny committee was tasked with scrutinising the consultation outcomes, the recommendations made and their impact on residents as well as the contribution to be made by the council’s services in future models.

Members were broadly in favour of the plans but raised questions about transport, the loss of emergency care at Withybush Hospital, staffing and the ability for GPs to cope with demand.

Councillors heard that there were also aspirations to develop Withybush as a ‘rapid diagnostics centre’ with multidisciplinary teams for testing and diagnosing as early as possible.

Health board chairman Bernardine Rees said there would be a focus on seven localities within the area and it was “not just one size fits all.”

There was a “move away from the concept of hubs” with a focus on networks and what would be needed for Pembrokeshire, county director Elaine Lorton told members.

Committee chairman Cllr David Bryan said that the board had acknowledged people’s objection to the loss of the county’s A&E but had not done anything about it.

Hywel Dda chief executive Steve Moore said: “We have been very clear that the idea of keeping both emergency departments going was not possible.”

He added to have included that option (to keep Withybush A&E) in the consultation would have been “disingenuous.”

A full minor injury service will be available and a plan for major incidents is still in place, with most by-passing Withybush, as would be the case now.

Cllr Josh Beynon said he had been against the plans when he first heard of them but now believed it was necessary to have “wholesale change, not piecemeal.”

Cabinet member for social services Cllr Tessa Hodgson added that there was an “opportunity with these changes to be cutting edge.”

Director of social services Jonathan Griffiths said that health and social care must collaborate and partnership working will continue.

Mr Moore added the proposals would allow the health board “not just to survive but to do something much better than we currently do.”

“We have to do those new things around the community model now because that’s the only way to get through the next few years before the new hospital,” he added, referring to the need to ensure the new system was “interlocking” and maintained fragile services.

Mrs Rees emphasised that no site had been chosen for a proposed new hospital between Narbeth and Whitland while Mr Moore said the business case for it had not been prepared before the consultation as things needed to be done in the right order.

As plans are developed they will be brought back to committee for further discussion, members were told.