In January 2014, the Welsh Government commissioned the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care to explore the options for the provision of high quality and sustainable healthcare service in Mid Wales. The different needs of rural communities and the cross-boundary challenges of this region suggested the need for a review of the current health and social care systems. In October 2014, the Mid Wales Healthcare Study, undertaken by Professor Marcus Longley, was published and made twelve recommendations.
The twelfth and final recommendation of the study was that the three Health Boards covering the Mid Wales area, working with the local universities and other partners, should develop and support a “centre of excellence in rural healthcare”. The recommendation for this centre was that it should focus on “research, development and dissemination of evidence in health service research that addresses the particular challenges of Mid Wales”. It was noted that such a centre would have great potential to carry out work of relevance internationally.
The Centre for Excellence in Rural Health and Social Care (CfERH) was thus formally launched by Professor Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services, on 24th March 2016, later to be renamed “Rural Health and Care Wales” in March 2017.
Rural Health and Care Wales (RHCW) is currently hosted by Hywel Dda UHB, with offices in Aberystwyth. Anna Prytherch is the nominated Project Manager for RHCW, and Angharad Jones and Bethan Jenkins are the RHCW Development Officers. The RHCW Management Board and RHCW Steering Group is Chaired by Jack Evershed.