Long term plan for health and social care - what we need now is action

Vanessa Young

The Welsh Government has released its much anticipated long term plan, A Healthier Wales: our plan for health and social care, which sets a framework for the delivery of a seamless whole system approach to health and social care.

"We have been calling for a long term plan for health and social care in Wales for many years. After working alongside government and partners over the last two years to review the Welsh health and social care system, we are pleased to see the release of this plan", said Vanessa Young, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation.

"A Healthier Wales sets out a strong vision for health and social care, one we would all like to see delivered in communities around the country. We have always advocated a whole system approach that focuses on wellbeing and healthy lives and delivers care when needed as close to home as possible.

"We welcome the establishment of a national Transformation Programme. Many innovative projects to enhance services are already happening in Health Boards and NHS Trusts, which could be scaled up to a national level and this programme should provide a mechanism to achieve that.

"What is important now is action. While the government has set out a high level direction of travel, there is lots of work to do to move the vision to reality right across the health and care system - in GP surgeries and care homes, in communities and emergency departments.

"The future of health and social care in Wales must involve engaging the people of Wales to redesign how they access service, shifting from hospital-based care to community and wellness-based care and activities.

"Funding of the NHS continues to be an issue with a recent UK-wide report showing that spending on healthcare will need to rise by an average of 3.3 per cent a year over the next 15 years just to maintain NHS provision at current levels. Social care funding must also increase if we are to achieve a seamless, integrated system of service for all.

"This year we mark the 70th birthday of the NHS and our health and care needs have changed significantly since 1948. A Healthier Wales gives us a framework and vision, but it is vital that we all work together to bring about the change required for a sustainable system for the years ahead."

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