THE Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Vaughan Gething visited Newtown Hospital.

NHS staff and community representatives were able to showcase some of the achievements, opportunities and challenges for health services in the area.

During his visit last Thursday, the Health Secretary met clinical staff from the Powys Teaching Health Board’s Dementia Home Treatment Team and Community Neuro Services.

The Dementia Home Treatment Team was established by frontline staff when the Fan Gorau assessment ward was closed due to low staff numbers.

Julie Jones, a nurse in the Dementia Home Treatment Team, said: “The Health Secretary was clearly very interested in our experience here in Montgomeryshire, and how the lessons we have learned can be shared across the wider NHS in Wales.”

Jasmin Williams, clinical specialist physiotherapist, added: “With this service we are able to provide care for even more people following stroke or with long term neurological conditions in their home, or closer to home, than ever before.”

The Minister met Peris Astley (chairman), Joy Williams (secretary) and Pam Lane (vice chair) of Newtown Hospital League of Friends.

Mr Gething also saw new x-ray facilities, an improved x-ray suite and new ultrasound equipment made possible through donations from the Newtown Hospital League of Friends.

Peris Astley said: “He thanked us for our fundraising which is helping to bring new services to Newtown and wished us well in our efforts to recruit new members to continue the work we do.”

Next stop was the refurbished Newtown Birth Centre, which has a brand new waterbirth pool as well as a Day Assessment Unit.

The refurbishment was funded by Welsh Government capital funding, donations through the Newtown League of Friends and fundraising by Focus School in Sarn.

Lynn Jones, midwife ultrasonographer, said: “Our new scanning equipment has saved over 2,600 miles in travel to district general hospital in July alone.”

The final part of his visit gave local community representatives the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns for health services in the area.

Ann Williams, from Llanfyllin Patient Group, was part of the group.

She said: “We expect that formal consultation on NHS Future Fit proposals will start later this Autumn and we would encourage everyone affected to look out for details once they are published and to make their views known as part of the consultation.”

After his visit, Mr Gething said: “I would like to thank the team at Newtown Hospital for their warm welcome, and for sharing their successes and hopes for the future.

“It is clear from my visit to Newtown that here in Powys there are already significant achievements in integrated care and there is great ambition for the future.

“Our recent White Paper ‘Services Fit For The Future’ aims to support frontline staff to provide more integrated health and care that places people at the heart of delivery.

“At the moment this is a consultation and no decisions have been made about future legislation, and I would encourage people in Powys to share their views before this national consultation ends on September 29.”

Alan Lawrie, deputy chief executive and director of Primary & Community Care at Powys Teaching Health Board, hosted the visit.

He added: “We have big ambitions for integrated care. This offered an excellent opportunity to share the achievements we have made, our ambitions for the future and also the challenges we will overcome.”