In 2015 the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act was passed by the National Assembly for Wales (now the Welsh Parliament). As a result of the Act, public bodies in Wales, including the NHS and Local Government, need to consider the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other to prevent persistent inequalities such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.
The Act places an obligation on public bodies to improve social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being, which is even more vital now following the coronavirus outbreak. Since the Act was introduced in 2015, NHS organisations in Wales, the Local Health Boards and NHS Trusts, have been working to deliver innovative care models which help to create long-lasting and positive change for current and future generations. The Act puts in place seven wellbeing goals, and the NHS is maximising their contributions to all seven goals as highlighted in our briefing, the journey towards implementing the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act in Wales.
While the NHS in Wales, like the rest of the UK, have to deliver against a backdrop of significant pressure on their emergency departments and also primary and community care services, this increase in demand means that the NHS needs to adapt and focus on innovative models of care, working across the public sector to ensure our communities are brought closer together, with early interventions and prevention at the heart of what we do.
Across the UK the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed deep structural inequalities in our economy and society, including wage poverty, health inequalities, racial disparities, food poverty, job insecurity and imbalances in quality of housing. We risk exacerbating all of these challenges if we go back to the way things were.