Wales needs a Deal for Health and Wellbeing to deliver on long-term vision for health and care
The Welsh NHS Confederation is calling on the Welsh Government to introduce a Deal for Health and Wellbeing framework, setting out what the public and staff are entitled to from the NHS and the contributions that the public can make to their own health and wellbeing.
The Welsh NHS Confederation’s latest publication, Reshaping the relationship between the public and the NHS, examines the importance of engaging and communicating with the public to respond to the challenges we face, identifying factors required for high-performing public engagement and communication and providing recommendations for national and local leaders to build and improve on current approaches.
Embedding learnings from the Covid pandemic, including improved cross-sector communication and the delivery of clear and consistent messaging across sector boundaries, will be key to enhancing public engagement going forwards.
To deliver on the long-term vision for health and care, developing the relationship between public services and citizens must be a priority. To quote the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care (January 2018): “Wales must be a listening nation through actively seeking out diverse views and experiences to co-design services with the public if we are to accelerate change and improve quality”.
Nesta Lloyd-Jones, assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the relationship between the NHS and the public and we’ve seen a remarkable level of public understanding and support, from sewing face masks and shopping for our shielding neighbours, to a genuine sense of gratitude for the sacrifices made by health and care staff on the frontline.
“However, public expectations have shifted as the pandemic progresses and there’s a growing disconnect between what’s expected and what the service is able to deliver. This could undermine the positive developments we’ve seen during the pandemic, with urgent and meaningful dialogue required to realign expectations. It’s crucial the public continue to feel personally invested in our service to help ensure its long-term sustainability.
“This will only be possible with an effective engagement and communication strategy across all sectors – health, housing, environment, transport, economy, education and food policy must all contribute to the wider ambition of healthier families living happier lives.
“Together, we can engage the public in a conversation which aims to support people to look after their own health and wellbeing. The NHS belongs to us all and, as individuals, we should do what we can to ensure it is sustainable.”
We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.