Concerns raised by the community over the future of healthcare on a Pembrokeshire peninsula remain unaddressed, say the group working to secure its future.

The Future of Solva Surgery Working Group says that it is still waiting for feedback from Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) to a paper that it submitted to the Peninsula Stakeholder Group in April this year.

The working group is led by Solva Community Council with membership drawn from the local community. It aims to preserve the GP service in Solva, strengthen primary care and integrate and co-ordinate with preventative activities.

It added that there has been little communication from the health board and offers from the community to work collaboratively towards a solution have not been taken up.

Solva Surgery was taken over by the health board in March this year after its GP partner retired.

Although the working group says that the transition to a managed practice has been smooth, it expressed concerns that not enough was being done to secure the future of Solva Surgery and create a wellbeing hub on the St Davids Peninsula.

“As far as securing future GP services for the community, progress has been what can only be described as slow,” said a spokesperson for the group, adding that the health board’s deadline for creating a workable plan for the surgery was this month.

The group was invited to join the Peninsula Stakeholder Group, which would focus on maintaining GP services on the St Davids Peninsula in the long term.

It said there has only been one meeting of the stakeholder group back in April. A paper submitted by the working group at that meeting has still received no response eight months later, and that major concerns raised by the community at the beginning of the process, remain unaddressed.

“We still don’t know what the situation is with the surgery premises which are currently being leased by HDUHB, and importantly, what the future holds with respect to GP services on the peninsula given that the future of the two practices Solva and St Davids will most certainly have to be inextricably linked,” said chair of Solva Community Council, Richard Davies.

Chair of the Future of Solva Surgery Working Group, Sue Denman added: “We had high hopes that HDUHB managers would follow their policy of working collaboratively with local communities to find solutions that will meet the long-term needs of the population on the Peninsula.

“The Health Board’s actual deadline for creating a report on a workable plan is this month - a deadline which is certain not to be met for reasons that are a mystery to us.

“Only one meeting of the Peninsula Stakeholder Group has taken place, communication has been sparse, and offers of support from the community to help progress the plan have not been taken up.”

Following the cancellation of several agreed dates over the summer and early autumn, the second meeting of the Peninsula Stakeholder Group is now due to take place on 16 January 2024.

The Future of Solva Surgery Working Group says that it will be working to secure answers to community concerns ahead of this meeting where it will push hard for a timeline and plans.

“It makes strong sense to plan, and to plan together, to avoid another cycle of crisis management,” said Mrs Denman.

A spokesperson for the health board said that the stakeholder group had met twice, with another meeting scheduled for the new year.

John Evans, Pembrokeshire county director at the health board said the board’s priority in recent months had been stabilising the practice at Solva Surgery, supporting the team and developing the right skill mix.

“We are continuing to work with the Solva Surgery Working Group, St David’s Surgery and community representatives to develop a shared vision for services to support patients across this very rural area,” he added.

“At a time when both GP practices are under pressure, it is important that we maintain our focus on the longer-term picture of how we develop sustainable services.”

Hywel Dda Health board added that the surgery’s nursing team was now fully staffed and regular GP locums are working alongside Dr Unversucht. Efforts to recruit more GPs to permanent roles are continuing.

Minor building work and maintenance to the surgery is taking place in December and January. The practice will remain open as normal through this, and the health board apologises for any inconvenience this may cause.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care and Long-Term Services at Hywel Dda UHB, added: “It has been a challenging year for the team in Solva Surgery and the support from the local community has really helped this transition.

“As we look forward to the New Year, the health hoard is committed to working as a part of the Peninsula Working Group to find longer-term solutions to the sustainability of GP and primary care services across Solva and St Davids.”