Welsh Government
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“Wales needs to end its dependency on hospitals and embrace the shift to care in the community”- Mark Drakeford & Gwenda Thomas

Wales needs to end its dependency on hospitals and continue to embrace a preventative, primary and community care-led NHS which is integrated with social care, Welsh Government Ministers said yesterday 

Speaking during a debate in the National Assembly, the Health Minister, Mark Drakeford and the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas told Assembly Members that In Wales, more than 90% of patient contacts with the NHS take place in primary care.

Ministers said the Welsh Government’s aim is to shift resources towards multi-disciplinary primary and community care teams, working closely with social care, to meet people’s needs at, or close to home. Firm action is being taken to rebalance the health and social care system so that it promotes self care, and further reduces unnecessary emergency admissions.

The Welsh Government is taking action to improve primary care and integration across health and social care, including:

  • The number of GP practitioners in Wales in 2013 was 2,026 - 30 more than 2012 and an increase of 204 since 2003.  
  • Three quarters of GP practices are now open for daily core hours or within one hour of the daily core hours and 95% of practices now offer appointments at any time between 17:00 and 18:30 at least 2 week days.  
  • Establishing a £9.5m Health Technology and Telehealth Fund – this enables care to be provided outside of hospital settings, by primary care providers, in community settings or remotely in patient’s homes.
  • Establishing the £50m Intermediate Care Fund as part of a Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats – this enables investment in services to support older people, particularly the frail elderly, to maintain their independence and remain in their own home.
  • Introducing ‘Add to Your Life’ (Over 50s Health Check) Programme.
  • The Integrated Family Support Service - our flagship early intervention models to focus on families where children are at risk of being taken into care because of parental alcohol or substance misuse. This is now available across all parts of Wales.

The National Survey for Wales, published last week, revealed 92% of people were satisfied with the care they received from their GP at their last visit 91% of people were satisfied with the care they received at their last appointment at an NHS hospital.

Health Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“For people to receive timely, seamless, person centred care at or as close to home as possible, primary and community care must integrate with each other, with secondary care and with social care.

“The better primary and community care services are, the more integrated they are with each other, with secondary care and with services such as social care, housing, leisure and transport, and with  the third and independent sectors,  the better the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales.

“In reality, these services deliver most of the range of health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, disease-management, rehabilitation and palliative care services, throughout the course of the life of every person in Wales.

“I expect to make a number of important announcements in the coming weeks on my broader plans for investment in primary and community care services across Wales, and the needs of deprived communities will be prioritised both in terms of resource allocation and implementation timetables.”

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:

“We must move away from the old medical model of care to a social one, promoting independence, not dependence.

“If we are to truly provide high quality care and support services to meet the needs of people across Wales, we need to ensure services are effectively joined-up and co-ordinated.

“Although the focus of attention tends to be on hospitals, primary care is where most people have their first and ongoing contact with health services. People tell me, particularly older people, that they would rather not go to hospital and would prefer to receive their care and support at home, or in the community setting.

“People want to have more control over their care and support. They are the ones who know what they need and what is right for them. Individuals and their families need to take control and responsibility for their own health and well-being. There must be more focus on prevention and early intervention and a move from over-dependency on statutory services.”

Channel website: http://gov.wales

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