Responding to the publication of Public Health Wales Health Impact Assessment of the ‘Staying at Home and Social Distancing Policy’ in Wales in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Darren Hughes, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said:
“We welcome this report highlighting the health impacts of the Welsh Government’s lockdown measures. The report acknowledges both the benefits and the costs of the measures on the Welsh population.
“Across the NHS we have stayed constantly aware, not just of the direct consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic, but also the indirect consequences which these measures could have on the health and wellbeing of the population.
“The effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing has been profound, and as we recover from the pandemic, we must do all we can to mitigate and minimise these effects. We’re also seeing rising health inequalities as a result of the pandemic, and this is likely to have an impact on demand for health and social care services in the future.
“The response to Coronavirus has always been a delicate balance. Without the introduction of these measures, there would have been a real risk that we would’ve seen many more deaths as a result.
“The pandemic has also negatively impacted on the BAME communities, which has been highlighted in a report published today by the COVID-19 BAME expert advisory group. The impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic communities and healthcare staff has shone the brightest of lights on racial inequalities and their root causes in Wales and across the UK. We look forward to working with the Welsh Government as they look to implement the recommendations of the report."