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NHS and social care providers need to work 'seamlessly' together, says review

Services should work together 'seamlessly' to bring care closer to home Credit: PA

There needs to be greater cohesion between health and social care in Wales to provide better service to patients, an independent health review has warned.

Dr Ruth Hussey who chaired the review says both services need to work closer together 'seamlessly' to bring care closer to home. Better transition from hospital to the social care system without 'artificial barriers' is key.

The panel recommends new models of care with services organised around the individual and their family, emphasising that services need to be preventative, easy to access and of high quality.

Dr Hussey says the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated:

The scale of the challenge ahead should not be underestimated. It is clear that change is needed and even clearer that this should happen quickly.

We have detected an appetite for change and a desire to 'get on with it'. A strong commitment to transform not just how much is done, but what and how it is delivered is needed.

– Dr Ruth Hussey

However, the Welsh Government say £10million in funding has been provided to reduce pressure:

Staff across social care have been working incredibly hard this winter, in partnership with NHS colleagues, and we would want to thank them for their hard work.

An additional £10 million to help relieve pressures on health and social care services in Wales during the busy winter period has also been provided. The funding will support health boards, the ambulance service and social care services across Wales treat and care for the increase in people using services at this time of year.

We will soon be publishing national guidance on improving the transfers of care of people from hospital. Known as the SAFER patient flow guidance, it is clear about putting the person at the centre, involving all relevant partners and the importance of efficient processes to enable people to leave hospital when ready.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

We welcome the report published this morning. It is positive to see the recognition of the need to remove the barriers between physical and mental health and engage people in their own treatment.

However, given that mental ill health accounts for 20% of the health burden, we are concerned that there are very few mentions of mental health in the document as a whole nor reference to how it fits with the big picture within health and social care.

We would hope that the increased focus on patient experiences will allow local Health Boards to improve their services at a local level.

Although this report is a necessary and important step in improving Health and Social Care in Wales, we feel that there now needs to be immediate action to take this forward. We await the Welsh Government’s response with particular interest.

– Sara Moseley, Director of Mind Cymru

Other recommendations include moving resources away from larger hospitals, addressing staff shortages, and giving patients greater choice about where and how they want to be cared for.

We’re pleased the report acknowledges the role charities plays in delivering health and social care in Wales and we would like to use our service development expertise to shape the new approaches to care it recommends.

Macmillan will continue to fund innovative services and projects such as our £3.3m Macmillan Framework for Cancer in Primary Care to support people with cancer to have more seamless care no matter where they’re being treated.

– Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan Wales