A MEETING to review potential sites for a new Urgent and Planned Care Hospital somewhere between St Clears and Narberth goes ahead today, May 25.

Members of the public will this week join health and care professionals, clinicians, and public sector partners to review potential sites for the new hospital.

This is the first workshop for the technical appraisal group, which includes a representation of members of the public, as well as expert NHS and partnership staff.

It takes place today, Wednesday, May 25, with the second workshop scheduled for Tuesday, June 28.

This first workshop will agree the process for the appraisal and the importance of each criterion that needs to be considered.

The second workshop will score the potential sites – two of which are in the St Clears area, two in the Whitland area, and one in the Narberth area.

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The process is being managed with support and advice from The Consultation Institute, a not-for-profit, independent body, which provide guidance on best practice for engaging with communities.

Lee Davies, executive director of strategic development and operational planning at Hywel Dda, said public representation on the appraisal group is of paramount importance.

“We have spent the past couple of months working hard to identify and contact individuals, groups, and organisations from across the three counties requesting expressions of interest to join the group.

"This has included writing to more than 200 people who participated in an engagement exercise last year, who had asked to be kept informed about future engagement activities.

“We have endeavoured to make this technical appraisal group as reflective of the communities we serve as possible, and I look forward to hearing their views.”

Following engagement with members of the public, staff and organisations between March and May 2021, the following areas will be considered, including site conditions, infrastructure, access and active travel, and environment and ecology.

The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government, should they support funding of the hospital.

The health board recently submitted a Programme Business Case to the Welsh Government to deliver the 'Healthier Mid and West Wales strategy'.

The new Urgent and Planned Care Hospital is one element of a plan which aims to improve health outcomes and well-being of the people in the Hywel Dda area.

There are criticisms to the health board's plans, with a petition that got over 11,000 signatures having recently been put forward for debate at the Senedd.

In the petition, titled ‘Withybush General Hospital must retain 24 hour, 7 days a week, Consultant Led urgent care’, campaigners say: 'We have lost faith and trust in HDUHB and do not believe that they are working in the best interests of Pembrokeshire.'