The dedication and hard work of NHS staff was praised at Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Annual General Meeting held on July 26.

The Annual Report, which details some of the achievements and challenges of 2017/18 and areas for improvement, was also launched at the meeting, together with a short trailer animation to help signpost people to the document on its website.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board: “We’ve seen many successes throughout the year across the organisation that we are immensely proud of and, though it was also a year of real challenge in some ways, we’ve embraced many opportunities to improve too.

“It’s right to pay tribute to our staff as, without their commitment and hard work, we couldn’t achieve everything we do. Across the organisation our staff have continued to work incredibly hard throughout the year to ensure our patients receive the care they need, often above and beyond their normal roles and particularly at times of significant pressure, for example, during in the winter months. Despite this, many of our staff and teams have still managed to achieve even more, with their work recognised in a variety of national awards. We are incredibly humbled and proud to be part of such a committed and talented team.”

Key topics discussed at the AGM included the Health Board’s overall performance throughout the year, its financial position, ongoing challenges, as well as the many new developments, innovations and award-winning successes throughout the year.

Some of the key highlights of 2017/18 included over £1m spent supporting a wide range of charitable and health related activities; £16.9m invested in improving hospital and community services and recruitment plans, particularly medical and nursing led to a reduction in pay for agency and temporary staff of £9m compared with 2016/17.

During the year, despite huge focus and effort, the Health Board continued to face significant financial challenges, mainly because of the rising demand for healthcare services and the increasing costs to provide those services, so the coming year will see a focused effort to address these and get back to a stronger financial footing.

As an improving organisation, the Health Board is constantly making efforts to better its performance across all areas of healthcare, seeing an improved or sustained performance last year in waiting times for elective treatment and emergency, ambulance delays, therapies and diagnostics. It is, however, acknowledged that there is much more to do and significant work is continuing to address those areas where improvement is needed, such as, improving access to GPs and the GP out of hours service; reducing waiting times for treatment, including ambulance handover and A&E; and increasing number of children vaccinated at one and five years of age, to name a few.

Looking ahead into 2018/19, the Health Board will be focusing on balancing its finances, strengthening its workforce and improving local health and care services for the local population.

Bernardine Rees, OBE, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board added: “I’m extremely proud of all of our staff, who in a very challenging year - and with a well- documented position around the fragility of some of our services - have achieved a great deal. This is testament to the incredible passion, commitment and dedication of our staff, volunteers, partners and all our stakeholders, who work so hard for the benefit of our patients and our population as a whole.

“By continuing to live and breathe our organisational values, which are pivotal to our daily business, we are working together to be the best we can be, striving to develop and deliver excellent services and putting people at the heart of everything we do.

“We look forward to embracing the next year together and all it has to offer for our future – we have achieved much together and together we really can make a difference.”

The report is part of a suite of documents that includes the Annual Accounts and the Annual Quality Statement for the year 2017/18, together with the Hywel Dda Health Charities Report, all of which are available on