A LOCAL councillor has described it as an “excellent model” for Penarth after being one of the few public representatives who visited a ‘Wellbeing Hub’ in operation.

The health board’s future healthcare plans for Eastern Vale centre round a “Wellbeing Hub” – a new GP model that integrates multiple health services.

Penarth Times, along with Vale Council Plymouth ward representative Anthony Ernest, visited Maelfa Wellbeing Hub in the Llanderyn area of Cardiff on April 24.

The Times visit was much about giving Penarth residents a visual idea of what the hub could look like if built in Penarth, while Cllr Ernest added some words to the visit, describing it as “light and airy”.

On his 'Penarth Information for Local Residents' Facebook page, Cllr Ernst wrote: “Maelfa Health Centre, lying in a huge estate on Cardiff's eastern fringes, was opened around a year ago, and is an excellent example of how integrated health services can be brought together under one roof.

“Shown around by a team of UHB staff, as well as a senior officer from Cardiff County Council, they explained how the new centre has been closely integrated with the council's adjoining "hub", which provides a "One Stop Shop" for the council's services, where, for example, you can renew bus passes, borrow a library book, or check your council tax payments.”

On the visit, Cllr Ernst said: "This seems an excellent model to work on for our long-awaited Penarth Health Centre.

“I just hope that Welsh Government will be suitably minded to provide the considerable, and very necessary finance, when the final design eventually reaches them."

Penarth Times: An operating Wellbeing Hub in Maelfa, CardiffAn operating Wellbeing Hub in Maelfa, Cardiff (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: Cllr Ernest seemed impressed by the facilityCllr Ernest seemed impressed by the facility (Image: Newsquest)

'They don't know what it is!' Damning view on proposed ‘Wellbeing Hub’

One of the opinions which has resonated in response to plans for Eastern Vale and Penarth getting a new integrated health service called the ‘Wellbeing Hub’ was – ‘people do not know what it is’.

That was how a councillor described what his constituents felt about the idea of the Wellbeing Hub at an engagement session held in Dinas Powys in December.

Cllr Chris Franks, of Plaid Cymru, also lamented the time it's taking for decisions to be made.

“What we want to know is fundamental information,” said Mr Franks. “What is the location of the hub? What is the size of the budget? The timetable?”

Penarth Times: The engagement session in Dinas Powys in DecemberThe engagement session in Dinas Powys in December (Image: Newsquest)

Nice building, but difficult to park as we visited a Wellbeing Hub serving Cardiff

We recently visited the Maelfa Wellbeing Hub in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.

The first challenge was parking, with cars overspilling out of the small car park used to supply the facility.

When we got inside, reception had a comfortable seating area, there was a café and we were shown both clinical rooms and interview rooms for less intrusive treatment.

Penarth Times: Clinician rooms in the Maelfa Wellbeing HubClinician rooms in the Maelfa Wellbeing Hub (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: A council building was attached right next to the facilityA council building was attached right next to the facility (Image: Newsquest)

Health board members emphasised the flexibility of these rooms, able to be rearranged and used for a multitude of services.

Cardiff Council representatives also joined us on the tour showing us the “council half” of their Wellbeing Hub.

Here, on offer were council services such as a library, interview rooms, support and advice stations on issues such as council tax, housing and benefits, and there was sports provision – with a sports hall at the end of the building.

Convinced? Not convinced? Do the plans excite you? Are you worried about the future of health care in Eastern Vale? Let us know in comments, on our Facebook page, or email harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk.

Got a story in Penarth? Email hary.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk.