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New health and wellbeing post for West Wales

A new post aimed at promoting the health needs of people living in rural areas is to be created in West Wales.

The Chair of Rural Health and Community Wellbeing will focus on people in the Hywel Dda area, which accounts for a quarter of the country’s landmass, but contains only 13% of its population.

Statistics show that one in three adults in Wales as a whole lives with a long-term condition such as asthma or diabetes and the number of people over the age of 75 will increase 75% by 2031.

The post holder - created under a joint initiative between Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Hywel Dda NHS Health Board - will lead research and policy development to improve the wellbeing of people in Hywel Dda.

Trevor Purt, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health Board said: “We recognise the unique challenges of our large rural geography, but far from seeing this as a problem we see it as an opportunity to evolve how we work in partnership with universities, voluntary organisations and local authorities to meet the specific health needs of our rural communities. 

“This position is about ensuring our services work for the people we serve and will enable us to deliver a new type of healthcare provision in a real rural area, with real people, every day.”

Jane Davidson, Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity Saint David University, said: “Our communities currently face a number of important challenges including changes in demography and changes in the nature of health care provision.”

Prof Martin Jones, Pro Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “This is a unique opportunity to make a demonstrable contribution to major health and social care policy and practice.”

Applications for the post closed 18 December 2012, with an appointment expected early in 2013.