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3rd June 2014

Health Minister: 'We need to end our dependence on hospitals for care'

Wales needs to end its dependency on hospitals and embrace a preventative, primary and community care-led NHS which is integrated with social care, Welsh Government Ministers said today (June 3).

Speaking during a debate in the Assembly, health minister Mark Drakeford and deputy social services minister Gwenda Thomas told AMs that more than 90 per cent of patients' contact with the NHS takes 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. Action is being taken to "rebalance the health and social care system" so that it promotes self care, and further reduces unnecessary emergency admissions.

Action taken to improve primary care and integration across health and social care

According to ministers the action taken to improve the integration of services across the health and social care sector includes:

  • 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.

Read more on this story

Welsh Government website: Wales needs to end its dependency on hospitals and embrace the shift to care in the community

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