Public consultation on the future of local health services will start in August, Hywel Dda Health Board has announced.

The Health Board recently carried out a ‘listening and engagement’ exercise and said it was pleased with the significant response received.

A total of 818 questionnaires were received, including 42 from organisations.

Seven public focus groups were held by Opinion Research Services (ORS), staff focus groups were held at each of the four main hospitals and with doctors, and more than 500 letters and submissions were received.

Meet the Health Board events were also held and ‘case for change’ booklets and DVDs distributed to households.

Respondents raised concerns about provision of improved community care, local hospitals and rural geography, as well as effective planning for emergency cover.

A presentation on emerging themes and national case for change was recently given to key clinicians and healthcare professionals, as well as the Community Health Council.

Chairman Chris Martin said: “We are pleased that the listening and engagement exercise has stimulated a quality debate with staff, stakeholders, patients and the general public on the future of local healthcare delivery. It is particularly reassuring that there is support for us to deliver quality and safety standards and provide more NHS services locally through integrated primary, community and social care teams working together. What came through clearly was the real passion that our local communities have for their health service. We acknowledge areas where concern has been expressed and will address these in our planning for formal consultation.

“We would urge everyone to maintain the energy from the listening and engagement exercise and work with us to continue the conversation later this summer.

“This August launch of our summer/autumn consultation has been set to allow time for people to consider the proposals as part of a programme of consultation activities and events planned throughout the 12 weeks of August, September and October.”