PEOPLE in living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire could have far fewer operations cancelled if health services were structured in a different way, according to a senior doctor at Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Mr Mark Henwood, Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Director for Scheduled Care at Hywel Dda, said the cancellation rate for planned operations was “far too high” and argued that emergency and planned care needed to be delivered separately.
The health board has officially launched a 12-week consultation, “Hywel Dda – Our Big NHS Change,” which is aimed at making provision of local health and care better for our communities.
We’re asking residents across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, as well as the wider cross-border regions, to get involved and have your say on three proposals to improve the way we provide care for our population.
Each proposal has been designed and tested by our clinicians to ensure that our services are safe, sustainable, accessible and kind for our generation and those to come.
The health board currently provides both emergency and planned care at all four of its hospitals – but because of the number of people attending A&E departments there is “inevitably” a knock-on effect on planned care, as beds are prioritised for emergency patients, Mr Henwood said.
He added: “Having an operation for a lot of people is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so they might have to make childcare arrangements or get family members to help them, or they may plan to go and stay with family. And then we’re bringing them in to hospital on the day of their operation and we’re having to send them home.
“It’s very stressful and most patients are good about it and do accept it because I think everyone knows it is a possibility, but there is a knock-on effect because that patient still needs to have that operation. So then we might have to move someone else who was booked in to have their operation, possibly on the next available list.
“This has a big impact on patients and their families because of everything they have to do – they may take time off work, they may organise all sorts of things and then we go and stuff it up for them.”
Mr Henwood added: “We are still committed to delivering as much care as close to home as possible – we wouldn’t deliberately make people travel unless they specifically had to. We don’t want to bring patients to hospital unless they really have to come to hospital.
“The whole idea behind this process is to improve patient care. It’s not about saving money, it’s about delivering a more efficient health service because efficiency leads to improvements for patients. If we’re more efficient we can get the right treatments to the right patients at the right time.”
You can find out more about the consultation and the health board’s proposals, or tell us your views, by: Completing the online questionnaire at: WWW.HYWELDDAHB.WALES.NHS.UK/HDDCHANGE 
EMAILING US AT: HYWELDDA.ENGAGEMENT@WALES.NHS.UK
TELEPHONE: 01554 899 056
COMING TO ONE OF OUR DROP-IN EVENTS:
Tuesday 8th May 2pm – 7pm / St Peter’s Civic Hall, Carmarthen SA31 1PG
Friday 11th May 2pm – 7pm / Regency Hall, Saundersfoot SA69 9NG
Tuesday 15th May 2pm – 7pm / Letterston Memorial Hall, Letterston SA62 5RY
Friday 18th May 2pm – 7pm / Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth SY23 2HH
Tuesday 22nd May 2pm – 7pm / Selwyn Samuel Centre, Llanelli SA15 3AE
Thursday 24th May 2pm – 7pm / Llandybie Memorial Hall, Llandybie SA18 3UR
Monday 4th June 2pm-7pm / Rhys Pritchard Memorial Hall, Llandovery SA20 0DS
Monday 11th June 2pm-7pm / Penybanc Welfare Hall, Ammanford SA18 3QS
Thursday 14th June 2pm-7pm / City Hall, St.David’s SA62 6SD
Monday 18th June 2pm-7pm / Tysul Hall, Llandysul SA44 4HS
Tuesday 26th June 2pm-7pm / Pembrokeshire Archives Building, Haverfordwest SA61 2PE
Monday 2nd July 2pm-7pm / Victoria Hall, Lampeter SA48 7EE
Thursday 5th July 2pm-7pm / Pill Social Centre, Milford Haven SA73 2QT