Proposals for a £600million shake-up of health services in South West Wales are as ambitious and exciting as they are necessary.

What is clear for all to see is that the current system is no longer the best way to treat the sick and improve the general health and wellbeing of the population.

We, the Welsh, have more reason than most to be proud and protective of the NHS – it was one of our own who created it after all.

However, the NHS which Nye Bevan brought into being in the post-war years is no longer fit for purpose.

The staff are wonderful, but the thinking behind the service created for 1940s Britain does not fit the model of the 21st Century.

The current NHS swallows money while constantly trying – but failing - to play catch-up with the changing needs of our ageing population.

Modern health services, if they are to continue provide the care and treatment services we all expect – must evolve.

They must be linked to social care as well as to the health of those not yet ill or in need.

Public health and wellbeing, treatment services via the NHS and social care provided by local authorities cannot be viewed as separate entities - they are one and the same thing.

The current model of pitting one against the other – particularly in terms of the disconnect between medical and social care – only serves to weaken and undermine the services we have as patients are pushed from one to the other.

It is time for a major rethink, not to undermine the NHS, but to make it stronger and more fit for the needs of today.