Welsh Government has published a new long-term plan for the future of health and social care in Wales. A Healthier Wales: our plan for health and social care focuses on providing more joined-up services, in community settings, with an emphasis on public health.
Responding to the action plan,
Dr David Tuthill, Officer for Wales at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:
“This ambitious plan sets out a clear vision for the future of health and social care in Wales. With child health outcomes in Wales among the worst in Europe, a bold plan of action to tackle the challenges faced by health services is welcome. New improved, resourced community based models of care will benefit children and young people, ensuring that they see the right person, at the right time, in the right place. The focus on prevention is encouraging, mirroring paediatricians’ concerns about the long term health and development of the children in Wales. Healthy active children are more likely to become healthy adults; so promoting healthy behaviours and preventing children from becoming sick is a key component in a sustainable health service in the long term. Vaccination, healthy eating and dental care are all areas that Welsh Government already actively support. We eagerly await action from Welsh Government on childhood obesity, mental health and breastfeeding to put these new preventative approach developments into practice.
While a positive first step, further action is needed to ensure that this vision can be realised. We want to see children and young people placed at the heart of health services in Wales. This can only be achieved through involving them and their families in the design of new systems and models of care. What’s more, any plan for future health services must be coupled with a clear plan for the workforce – the backbone of our health system. At present there is an inadequate child health workforce in Wales with paediatric rota gaps and vacancies increasing. Better planning is needed to expand and sustain the workforce. Simultaneously we need to ensure that GPs and other health professionals working with children receive adequate appropriate child health training. We look forward to working closely with the Welsh Government to deliver this plan. It is only through concerted action and a coordinated approach that we can ensure a healthier future for every child in Wales.”