The absence of Elderly Mentally Infirm (EMI) nursing beds across Ceredigion is of major concern, according to the North Ceredigion Forum for Older People's Care.

Chairman of the forum, Mark Williams, rounded on Ceredigion County Council and Hywel Dda Health Board at their most recent meeting in Penparcau, saying: "The provision of these EMI nursing beds is a joint responsibility and yet we heard from professionals at our meeting that there are no beds at all in Ceredigion, and Carmarthen remain the hub of provision.

“The reality identified in report after report is that as the population ages, as it is in Ceredigion, the need for EMI nursing provision increases, yet that need is not being met locally. We need to ask how much money Ceredigion is spending on out-of-county provision. That funding needs to be invested here."

Forum secretary Pat Bates, a long-time campaigner on this issue, reminded the meeting of the huge pressures placed on families separated by out-of-county placements, restricting visits and further undermining the health of those in care, and their families.

Ceredigion County Council said it “is committed to developing a range of options for meeting the residential needs of local people”.

A spokesperson added: “We work in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and the West Wales Regional Partnership Board in strategically identifying the range of services required for now and the future. This is in alignment to the Councils’ Through Age and Wellbeing Strategy and the Councils Corporate Objectives.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We acknowledge that currently, Ceredigion residents do not have access to EMI Nursing beds in the county. We do however have access to EMI beds in residential homes in the area with daily in-reach support being provided by Hywel Dda’s Community Health services.

“To address the current gap, our Hywel Dda County Team for Ceredigion has been working closely with providers who have expressed an interest in providing care in the county and this work is ongoing.

“We do occasionally transfer patients out of the county if they have an assessed need for EMI Nursing Care but numbers are low. These decisions are always based on the welfare of the patient rather than cost of transport, in order to ensure that the patient is in the right care setting for their needs.”

Neither body said how much transfers cost.