Hywel Dda University Health Board today approved a recommendation that an application by the Coach and Horses Practice in St Clears to close their Branch Surgery in Laugharne be declined.

This means that the Branch Surgery in the township will remain open, but the Health Board will work with the Coach and Horses Practice to consider the services which may operate out of the Branch Surgery, and those services which will continue to be provided from the main Practice site at St Clears.

The decision follows months of public engagement with patients in Laugharne which included two drop-in events and an extension of the engagement period in order to ensure as many voices as possible could be heard.

Patients were also able to make their opinions known by completing a questionnaire, by telephone, email, in writing or online.

The Coach and Horses put forward their case for closure before an open session of the Branch Closure Panel, set up to consider the closure application.

The main reasons for the application to close the Laugharne Branch Surgery included concerns about workforce, staffing the branch surgery, and protecting the provision of General Medical Services in the area.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-Term Care, Jill Paterson, said:

“We appreciate that the Coach and Horses GP Practice have raised their concerns about  challenges including workforce and the financial pressures of maintaining two sites.

“However, following extensive local engagement and working closely with Llais, the statutory body in Wales that represents the interest of patients and the public, the Health Board decided to decline the closure application at this point in time.

“The public engagement exercise showed concerns about care being moved further from home, the ease of access to health services for the local community along with worries about transport and parking, appointment capacity at St Clears and the detrimental environmental impact.

“We will be working closely with the Coach and Horses Practice to help support them in the delivery of GP healthcare services into the future.”

Further details about how the decision was reached can be seen on the Hywel Dda University Health Board website.