04 Apr 2016 Economy Minister visits Llanelli to drive forward multi-million pound Wellness & Life Science Village

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DISCUSSIONS are underway between the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire Council to drive forward plans for a unique Wellness and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes in Llanelli.

The multi-million pound Carmarthenshire Council-led project will be the first of its kind and is being developed through ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) – a unique partnership between  ABMU and Hywel Dda Health Boards and Swansea University.

ARCH provides a new model for delivering healthcare specifically planned for today’s increasingly complex needs.

 The Wellness and Life Science Village aims to transform the way the region delivers care and promotes wellbeing – partnering first-class health, research and life science, with innovative leisure opportunities to help people live healthy lives.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart met representatives from ARCH and the council on a visit to the proposed site at Delta Lakes.  The Minister updated the group and said discussions were underway between the Welsh Government and the council to extend an existing Joint Venture agreement to facilitate the delivery of the Village, subject to an agreed business plan.

The Minister said: “These are exciting plans and form an integral part of the ARCH initiative that aims to improve the quality of health care and also boost the region’s economy and skills base in a sustainable way.

“We are currently discussing provisions to allow this innovative development to happen.”

The concept of a Wellness and Life Science Village followed talks on plans to build a new leisure centre in Llanelli and the council’s desire to work collaboratively with health partners, putting additional investment into facilities and services to help prevent ill-health and reduce pressure on front-line health care.

Scoping work to fine-tune details of the pioneering scheme is underway, with potential to include a state-of-the-art wellness and leisure centre, and life science and research facilities, as well as the possibility of a hotel, conferencing and high-spec business suites. 

Partners have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the project.

Councillorr Meryl Gravell, Executive Board Member for regeneration and Chair of the ARCH Wellness and Wellbeing working group, said: “The Wellness and Life Science Village will lead the way in transforming wellbeing services, focusing on preventative health care.

“We want to deliver cutting-edge wellness, care and research facilities here in Llanelli, and regenerate a prime location on Carmarthenshire’s coast.”

Hywel Dda’s Executive lead for ARCH, Professor Kathryn Davies, said: “This project shows the importance of a collabora­tive approach between all sectors. To achieve a real step-change in the health of our communities, we must understand the impact wellness has on all areas and sectors - medi­cine, research, education, sport, community public health hospitality, business and commerce.”

ARCH board member and ABMU Director of Strategy Sian Harrop-Griffiths, who was at the recent ministerial visit to Delta Lakes, added: “Through ARCH we are working to provide health care for patients in a community-based setting, which will help divert them from entering secondary care and help ease the pressure on our hospitals.

We want people to access services based on informed choice, prevention, diagnosis and self-care rather than heading straight to their GP or Emergency Departments.”

The Minister was joined on the site visit by Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole; Cllr Meryl Gravell, Julie James, Independent Board Member of Hywel Dda University Health Board; Mark Clement, Vice President of Swansea University and Dean of the School of Management; and ABMU’s Sian Harrop-Griffiths.

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