WLGA welcomes the publication of the Parliamentary Review Report on health and social care. The review has taken a whole systems approach to assessing how health and social care systems might deliver improved health and well-being outcomes for people across Wales, reduce inequalities, and best enable the health and social care system to be sustainable over the next five to ten years and has recommended some clear actions required to achieve this vision.
Local Government welcomed the announcement of the Review as an opportunity to examine the long term future of health and social care, investigating how we can and must create a sustainable and properly funded health and social care system that is seamless and puts the needs of citizens at the centre. This will be central to developing a new approach in Wales that is fit for future generations.
The Review sets out the case that the current form of Wales’ health and care system needs to fundamentally change, with a need to revolutionise care so that it empowers individuals to take decisions, tailors care to the individual’s expressed needs and preferences, is far more proactive and preventative, is provided as close as possible to people’s homes, is seamless, and is of the highest quality.
Responding to the review Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:
“There is little doubt that health and social care services have faced and will continue to face enormous challenges over the coming years with increasing demand and expectations. We have the opportunity in Wales and a duty to create a sustainable health and social care system that the Welsh population needs and deserves and this report provides us with a renewed urgency for discussion and the framework within which vital decisions for the future of our health and social care system need to be taken. The current system was designed nearly eighty years ago when life in Wales and the rest of the UK was very different than it is today. There is a real need to shift, at pace, the health and social care system in Wales away from treatment to an integrated system based on prevention and early intervention as set out in the report.”
“However, one immediate challenge is the need for appropriate levels of funding and a long-term funding model to support the health and social care system outlined in the report. The reality is that without adequate funding and new investment for health and social care in the future, the changes outlined in the report will not be enough to ensure a sustainable health and care system. Bold leadership is required at all levels and I am confident local government will play its part in leading and implementing the necessary changes.”
Councillor Susan Elsmore (Cardiff), WLGA Deputy Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:
“Across the UK the current system is being challenged in the face of growth in the population as a whole and increasing numbers of older people with long term and complex illnesses and medical advances which keep people alive for longer. Taken together the demographics alone risk overwhelming health and social care."
“The case for change outlined by the Review is compelling with a need for a bold and unified vision for the whole health and social care system. The report is clear that to achieve better health and well-being for the people of Wales, stronger national direction is needed to speed up how the health and social care system adapts to the changing needs of the population and major challenges. An effectively integrated health and care system requires the levers and incentives for change to be aligned and to be acting in synergy across the whole health and social care system. However, the grinding impact of austerity has meant that tackling these problems through reform until now has been largely set within the search for greater value for money and smarter investment decisions. It is essential that we now take the findings from the review and with all key partners working together look at how best we can achieve the vision and the keys aims as set out“.
Councillor Geraint Hopkins (Rhondda Cynon Taf), Deputy Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:
“The demographic changes being seen in Wales and outlined in the Review’s report are significant. To respond to their impact, some stark choices need to be made and implemented. The challenge is such that there is simply no room to delay or obviate. While much of the Report focuses on the system as it affects adults and in particular older people, it is important that the health and social care services provided for children and young people are also addressed in any programme of transformation that is taken forward.”
“We have seen similar reviews in the past which have failed to make a comprehensive transition from the page to the clinical setting. Within a context of continuing austerity, in order to make the Review’s recommendations meaningful, manageable and implementable over a reasonable timescale there is a need for cross-party working to deliver the recommendations of the report, with a commitment from Welsh Government to invest the resources required into both health and social care as equal partners.”