"WE HAVE not got enough GPs" - that was the shock announcement from the health board at a public meeting held in Penarth last week.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board arranged a public meeting, under what many felt was a veil of secrecy, at West House on Thursday, March 30, to canvass opinion on how to shape their healthcare strategy going forward into the next ten years.

It was here that the health board's chief executive Suzanne Rankin - after being pushed - made the admission there are not enough GPs.

It came as residents pushed the health board to find out why practices in the area were being closed and why GPs were not being recruited – this off the back of Albert Road GP services closing and reports many residents in the area are having to make their way to GP services in Dinas Powys, with public transport links of just one bus an hour.

One despairing members of the public asked what had gone wrong with GPs that they want to leave the profession.

Ms Rankin admitted health services have people waiting longer than they would like and they were making some difficult decisions within the services available.

“We have not got enough GPs,” said Ms Rankin. “We need to make the role of GP appealing and flexible for people. We want young people to be interested in that career.”

Ms Rankin revealed small practices were finding it difficult to maintain as businesses, which was why the health board was looking into revitalising a business plan to build a super health centre in Cogan.

“We are working on bringing services together. We need to see more practices coming together to share resources and be more robust,” said Ms Rankin.

However, there is a caveat, that being the length of time Cogan’s new health centre will take to build – two to three years to get through Welsh Government approval before it even hits the local planning phase.

Penarth Times:

The meeting was held in West House, but many felt it was not advertised well

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Many felt the health board strategy is flawed, while others said there needed to be transparency and honesty.

Local Councillor Richard Cox admitted there was a health “emergency” in Penarth at the minute.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “Judging from the way in which that meeting was organised by the health board with extremely short notice and hardly any publicity, I cannot avoid the suspicion that there are people within the Health Board who did not want their chief executive to hear the strength of those concerns.”

One member of the public said the meeting was a "good start", but felt a wider cross-section of residents was required for these discussions

The health board released a statement on the evening.

The statement said: “We appreciate the difficulties faced by the people of Penarth and are glad so many took the time to speak to us and share their thoughts.

“It is clear that the citizens of Penarth have concerns with their local services and we are looking forward to working with them to address their comments. We’ve made a number of commitments during this session and look forward to future discussions."

What do you think of healthcare in Penarth? What do you want to see happen with your local healthcare services over the next ten years? Email harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk to let us know.

To find out more about when meeting are held by the health board go to shapingourfuturewellbeing.com.