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16.01.18

‘Wales needs a different system of health and care’, major review finds

A full review of the health and care system in Wales has recommended largescale changes to provide better services for people.

The document, commissioned by the Welsh Government, says change needs to happen quickly if there is to be a model of “seamless” health and care developed.

While it does acknowledge that change has been difficult in the past, the review suggests that health services need a different relationship with the public if they are to adopt new technologies and drive the system forward.

There are 10 recommendations included in the report, all built around the principle of integrated health and care, and giving more control to communities.

Doctors have welcomed the conclusions of the review, but have requested more detail, specifically on the matter of funding any changes.

Dr David Bailey, BMA Welsh Council chair, said: “BMA Cymru Wales welcomes the report, and many of its recommendations, particularly the recognition that the national executive function in NHS Wales needs to be strengthened; that technology and infrastructure developments must be accelerated; and that medical engagement must be a priority.

“The report has recommended that a captivating vision for the future of health and care in Wales is created – something our members have long called for – so we are pleased Welsh Government has announced that a plan will be published in the spring,” he continued.

“We look forward to seeing the detail from Welsh Government on how the recommendations will be funded, and to working together on implementation.”

Problems highlighted by the review include workforce shortages, inconsistencies in service delivery, and the lower-than-expected improvement of certain patient outcomes.

Funding the changes

On the subject of funding, the report says that health and care “consume a growing proportion of the Welsh Government’s budget – at the expense of other public service areas, like education, housing and the arts, which also have a great influence on the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales.”

The review is very clear that sweeping changes would be needed to bring Wales up to the standard expected.

“Wales needs a different system of health and care, and nobody should underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead,” it concludes.

“We find strong agreement on what could be done differently to meet the changing needs of the population. The focus now must be on action: delivering the change people want to see.”

Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething, recently announced plans to develop 19 individual health hubs across the country. The facilities would be aimed at bringing together services and improving access for people.

Top image: National Assembly for Wales

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