Health Minister says people should 'do more' to look after own health and ease pressure on NHS

  • Watch the video report by ITV Wales Health reporter, Katie Fenton.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has urged people to do more to look after themselves in order to ease the pressure on the Welsh health service.

High levels of flu and Covid are currently seeing the NHS under an unprecedented amount of strain, while it also attempts to deal with a backlog of patients waiting for treatment.

In an interview with ITV Wales News, Ms Morgan said "a really honest conversation" needed to be had with the public about how they can help relieve some of the pressure on the NHS.

She said: "We're in a situation where I think we've got to acknowledge we've got an older population, an aging population with more complex needs.

"So one of the things we're going to have to do is have a really honest conversation with the public about what they can do to help us to take the pressure off.

"But by really doing more to look after themselves, by eating well, by doing more fitness, by making sure they understand their responsibility in relation to their own health as well - that will take a bit of pressure off the NHS."

Ms Morgan accepted there are times the health service "feels like a crisis", but highlights unprecedented demand, partly fueled by flu.

"We haven't seen anything like the demand on the service that we've seen this winter," she said.

"What we've had is Covid - 1 in 18 people have Covid in Wales at the moment. We have flu, hundreds of people, thousands of people have been suffering from flu this winter, including myself."

The Health Minister added: "We have made huge amounts of preparation for this winter. We've been planning for it since April but the demand is like nothing we've ever seen before."

It comes as many nurses have been striking over pay and working conditions.

In a bid to prevent more strike action, the Welsh Government has announced a one-off payment for NHS workers.

Unions are due to meet the Health Minister on Thursday to discuss this new offer, which is not what they are calling for.

The First Minister has also rejected calls to increase Welsh income taxes in order to pay for a bigger pay rise for nurses, saying it's "not the sensible course of action."