GRAVE concerns have been expressed about the future of health services in the county after it was revealed that Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust has accumulated a debt of over £11 million, £8 million of which has to be paid back in four years.

Plaid Cymru AM for Mid and West Wales, Helen Mary Jones, said the NHS was lurching from one disaster to another.

Ms Jones said: "No wonder services are being cut when the Trust has to pay back such an enormous debt. I have spoken to people who work in the health service in Pembrokeshire and they are saying that it is close to meltdown. These people work incredibly hard and under a lot of pressure, but are being let down by the Welsh Assembly Government."

Chief executive of Pembrokeshire Local Health Board, Bernadine Rees, admitted that Pembrokeshire, like many health communities in Wales, faced a challenging service and financial position in 2005/06, which was further complicated by a historical recovery plan.

"The Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust had to draw down loans of over £8 million, which now needs to be repaid in the three years from 2006 to 2009," she said.

"As a health community, the options for consideration and proposed actions are being undertaken in an open and transparent way, with the inclusion of all of our key partners, including the general public."

She said the two statutory organisations, have agreed to work even closer together, building a virtual organisation, toward the aim of providing one health voice for Pembrokeshire.