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Hywel Dda University Health Board is representing West Wales among the testbeds in the Invest4health project.  Hywel Dda University Health Board is one of the seven health boards that make up NHS Wales, the publicly funded National Health Service of Wales. Within Wales healthcare is devolved, meaning that responsibility for managing and delivering healthcare services lies with the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government can make decisions and set policies regarding healthcare in Wales.

Hywel Dda University Health Board serves the 3 counties that make up West and South-West Wales, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire, covering a combined area of 5,780km2, supplying healthcare to an estimated population of 387,760 people. 44% of West Wales are bilingual, with Welsh as their first language.

Population in West Wales is likely to fluctuate during the year. Changing factors include: university towns with a high intake of students (Aberystwyth University 8,000 students, University of Wales Trinity St David’s, Carmarthen 13,000 students). West Wales is also one of the UK’s popular tourist destinations, with an estimated 2.6 million tourists visiting per year.

There are no major cities in West Wales. The landscape is made up of rural communities connected to semi-urban towns. Our District General Hospitals are based in the following areas:

Carmarthenshire, Population est 189,000

Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli

Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen

Ceredigion, Population est 75,400

Bronglais General Hospital, Aberystwyth

Pembrokeshire, Population est 123,360

Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest

In addition to our district general hospitals, we have: 5 Community Hospitals, 48 General Practices, 49 Dental Practices, 99 Community Pharmacies, 44 General Ophthalmic practices. All our sites have access to research facilities, with Research Delivery teams available at all main hospitals, supported by the Research, Innovation and Value Department. Hywel Dda University Health Board have also developed the Tritech Institute, a division of R, I&V, focused on the Evaluation and Development of new health technologies and innovations.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has successfully established research and innovation links with Universities across Wales, Aberystwyth University, Swansea University and University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s in West Wales, Bangor University in North Wales and Cardiff University and University of South Wales in East Wales. Research work is not limited to Welsh borders. We have working partners in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.

Some key health challenges in the area are:

Ageing population: The average age of people in Hywel Dda is increasing steadily. The current number of over 65-year-olds is predicted to increase from 96,704 (2022) to 127,700 in 2033. Currently, 3.2% are aged 85+ (second highest in Wales).

Changing patterns of disease: The number of people with more than one long-term illness is increasing. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions, mental health, and substance misuse are the main causes of death in Wales.

Social isolation and loneliness: 16.2% of our population report feeling lonely.

Physical activity and Healthy Eating: Over 40% of adults in our area do not take enough regular physical activity to benefit their health. Almost one third of our population are inactive. Two in three people in our area do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, and more than 3 in 5 people are

For more information about Hywel Dda University Health Board, visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/