The health and social care system continues to face a significant amount of pressure, with multiple factors contributing to a perfect storm of unbalanced ‘demand and supply’. Among other factors, the Omicron wave has only exacerbated the impact of winter pressures on capacity to deliver services across the system, from primary care to A&Es.
Difficult times lie ahead, as the NHS in Wales seeks to absorb the pressure of the Omicron wave amid the current huge demand and the challenge of significant staff absences. To help overcome these challenges, NHS organisations continue to work in partnership to develop initiatives which aim to enable long-term transformation.
Tackling long waiting times and improving patient experience are key priorities for NHS organisations and this briefing outlines a few of the current projects which aim to secure improvements in both these areas. For example, a new Surgical Same Day Emergency Care unit has opened in Wrexham Maelor Hospital which aims to reduce the number of GP patient referrals coming into the Emergency Department. This will offer patients timely assessment and reduce hospital admissions.
Other initiatives from across Wales are also focusing on reducing the length of patient stays in hospital, with Swansea Bay University Health Board putting in place a new outpatient service for those with neurological conditions who may have harmful antibodies in their blood. Usually performed as an inpatient procedure, the new service allows patients to return home between the multiple sessions required.
Health boards are providing people with the information they require to support their health and wellbeing at home, potentially avoiding future admissions. In collaboration with young people, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board developed a new website which focuses on young people’s mental health.
Partnership working continues to be a focus for NHS organisations across Wales and these efforts have been recognised, with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board paediatric physio team having won the National MOVE Programme's Better Together Award for its work with a local primary school.
The system continues to face unprecedented challenges, with additional complexities that Covid has introduced. This briefing illustrates some of the actions being taken across the service to rise to these challenges and put patient experience at the heart of everything it does.