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Care to be delivered ‘closer to home,’ says Welsh government

Wales sets out shared health and social care plan

Jo Carlowe

Monday, 11 June 2018

More care should be provided closer to home, and hospitals only used for essential care.

This is the message delivered today by Welsh health and social services secretary, Vaughan Gething, in new proposals set out by the Welsh government.

A Healthier Wales focuses on providing more joined-up services in community settings.

The changes will begin immediately, with a £100 million Transformation Fund to support the implementation of the plan. The funding will be targeted at resources to speed up the process, including the development of new integrated prevention services and activities in the community.

Vaughan Gething said: “Today’s plan sets out our vision for the future – it looks at how we will adapt to meet these future challenges and transform the way we deliver health and social care. We will deliver that change and remain true to the core values of the NHS to provide free healthcare for all.”

This is the first time the Welsh government has set out a shared plan for health and social care.

A new National Transformation Programme will be created to “kick start” the changes across Wales. Regional panel boards made up of councils, health boards and voluntary representatives will drive the work, and will be tasked with finding innovative ways of working in local areas.

In addition, a centralised NHS executive will be created to speed up decision-making about national issues.

The health secretary added: “I recognise the challenge and this will take time, but change will begin immediately. By the time we celebrate the 80th anniversary of our NHS I expect to see a stronger, joined-up system between health and social care that will be fit to serve people for generations to come.”

Responding to the publication of A Healthier Wales: our Plan for Health and Social Care, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Wales has called for "warm words" to be backed up with actions and has said the key test will be whether it delivers tangible improvements.

Dr Rebecca Payne, RCGP Wales Chair, said: "Broadly speaking RCGP Wales welcomes the content of this plan. The references to workforce wellbeing are particularly welcome. Staff are working in very difficult circumstances and the NHS will only be as strong as the people in it.

"We note that the language used throughout, such as the continued focus on preventative care and care closer to home, will only be achieved if general practice thrives.

"The key thing now is making sure this document leads to tangible improvements in patient care; warm words need to be backed up with actions. General practice remains significantly under-resourced and this plan needs to be a catalyst for change."


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