"WE REJECT options one and two." This statement by the Pembrokeshire Local Health Board brought a round of applause from hundreds of people attending last week's public meeting.

Options suggested by the Acute Services Review project board to shift services to West Wales General Hospital, Glangwili, or to a new facility between Haverfordwest and Carmarthen, were rejected outright by the LHB.

The LHB voted to support the recommendations of the project board after three hours of discussion and a presentation of the Community Health Council's third option document.

Members agreed to establish a planning forum, with an independent chairman, to look into issues raised at public consultation meetings and in the 290 letters, 48 emails and 2575 post cards received.

Those attending the meeting further showed their approval when the board added that the CHC's People's Vision' document was to be the basis for the work of this planning forum.

However, the decision to support merging NHS trusts and commissioning services for Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire proved less popular.

Board members supported merging the commissioning services and NHS trusts of the three counties to ensure closer and fairer networking between the health authorities.

Caveats requiring equal status for all three counties, equal access to services and a gradual changeover period were added to the recommendation.

During the recess, Chris Martin admitted he forgot to read out the public questions during the discussions, but he said: "I think the decisions have been made in the best interests of the people of Pembrokeshire."

He added that the "robust debate" had addressed the key questions.

But Swat member Cherie Harvey said: "It is not fair for the people of Pembrokeshire who took the time to write to the LHB."

Chief officer of the CHC, Ashley Warlow, said: "We would like to have seen a delay in the merger of the three trusts. But, if there are sufficient caveats attached protecting the interests of Pembrokeshire, then we will be content."