A report which labelled Powys as a "hospital desert", where there wouldn't be enough beds for the amount of coronavirus patients needing them, failed to take into account that the county doesn't have its own district general hospital.

A report at the weekend mapping demand for hospital beds during the coronavirus outbreak in England and Wales suggested that Powys was among the parts of the country to be hardest-hit because of its lack of available beds.

It suggested that were 10 per cent of the population to go down with the virus, there would need to be another 8.4 beds per 1,000 people - and 3.6 per 1,000 for those in critical care.

However, the report's authors have since issued a clarification acknowledging that patients in Powys tend to use major hospitals outside the county boundaries, such as in Shropshire and Herefordshire. 

Professor Melinda Mills from the University of Oxford, one of the authors, said on Twitter: "Hospital beds in geographic regions in Powys and beyond doesn’t capture agreements they have with neighbouring areas.

"Powys has a population of 130k and covers a sparsely populated region - the Powys Teaching Health Board has agreements with neighbouring regions for hundreds of beds. Understanding these fine-grained differences in risk is key to address Covid-19 crisis".

Carol Shillabeer, chief executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, said: "It is very reassuring to see that the authors have published a clarification to their original report.

“They have clarified that their original analysis does not capture pathways to acute hospitals in neighbouring areas. Instead, the analysis reflects the number of beds that are physically located in the county within which a person lives.

“However, health care pathways are complex, and for many people across the UK their nearest hospital will not be in the county where they live. This is the case here in Powys where our rural and sparsely populated geography means that we work with acute hospitals in neighbouring counties in both Wales and England to provide our residents with the more specialised care and inpatient services that they need.

"These cross border arrangements are very well established and continue to be the case. Our residents continue to have access to acute hospital beds and critical care beds in neighbouring hospitals both in England and Wales, and we are working closely with those hospitals to respond to coronavirus.

“Whilst the report did not provide an accurate reflection of the situation here in Powys, we must not let that distract us from the important message: coronavirus is a very serious issue and everyone has a part to play.

“Our advice is to stay home and save lives. This includes self-isolating if you or someone in your household has symptoms. It also includes shielding and social distancing to protect people who are most vulnerable to serious illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) such as people over 70 and people with underlying health conditions."

Information is available from the Public Heath Wales website at https://phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus. This website includes a helpful symptom checker where you can also access a self-isolation note for your employer if you need one.