Rural health and community wellbeing

Mr Manoj Kulshrestha

Mr Manoj Kulshrestha

03 April 2013

Aberystwyth University, Hywel Dda Health Board and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David are proud to announce the appointment of Mr Manoj Kulshrestha as Wales’ first Reader in Rural Health and Community Wellbeing.

The position recognises the unique opportunity available to the NHS and local universities in West Wales to work strategically in partnership and redefine how policies and services can improve the health and wellbeing of those living in rural communities.

Mr Kulshrestha, a prominent Consultant Ophthalmologist based at Bronglais Hospital and North Road Surgery in Aberystwyth, will take up the role on 1 May 2013 for an initial 12 month period. 

Appointed jointly by Aberystwyth University and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Mr Kulshrestha will also work in close partnership with the Health Board to provide policy and service advice and through securing research grants and funding, to create a self-sustaining, supporting research infrastructure for the post.

Mr Kulshrestha, newly appointed Reader in Rural Health and Community Wellbeing said: “I am looking forward to my new role as Reader in Rural Health Care and wellbeing. 

“Rural Wales poses challenges to the delivery of healthcare. This post will focus on areas of research and policy development including community cohesion and engagement, role of health and wellbeing in rural regeneration, improved access to services in a rural area and service integration and workforce development.

“We will look at the role of telemedicine and telehealth in improving communication between patients and staff.  Health is wealth, and by helping communities to live healthier and active lives, bringing care locally into the community and developing our community workforce, we hope to shift the balance of care away from the main hospitals to the community rural outreach areas.”                              

Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health Board, Trevor Purt, welcomed the appointment: “It has never been more important to identify and develop services that our rural communities need to live longer and healthier lives.  It is fantastic that Mr Kulshrestha, a Health Board consultant with a demonstrable passion for delivering care in a rural setting, has been appointed to this unique and pioneering role.

“The work of the Reader in Rural Health and Community Wellbeing will shape the way services are delivered and national policies are implemented for the benefit of our communities for years to come.”

Prof Martin Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said:  “This is an important day for the Institute of Human Sciences at Aberystwyth University. This post, which represents a unique partnership between Hywel Dda and two HEIs, will provide the basis for innovative and exciting research on the promotion of health and wellbeing with, and for, people living in rural communities. I am truly delighted by the possibility of influencing healthcare debates in Wales and the wider world. With Mr Kulshrestha’s appointment, we will gain strategic new opportunities for networking and working in partnership for the benefit of local communities and in doing so, open up education, training and development pathways for healthcare workers and the public sector more broadly.”

Jane Davidson, Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at University of Wales Trinity Saint David said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Kulshrestha to the university. As the post is based partly in Lampeter, there is an excellent opportunity for the university and the health board to work side by side in looking innovatively at how to improve community wellbeing in west Wales. We also look forward to working with our college partners, Coleg Ceredigion and Coleg Sir Gâr, in working with this new post to develop new training opportunities at all levels.”

The Reader in Rural Health and Community Wellbeing is responsible for leading research and policy development for the partner universities and Hywel Dda Health Board in relation to four key areas: Community cohesion and engagement; Role of health and wellbeing in rural regeneration; Improved access to services in a rural area; Service integration and workforce development/models.