On Tuesday 7 May 2019, the National Assembly for Wales will debate the Primary Care Model for Wales.
In February 2015 the Welsh Government published Our Plan for a Primary Care Service for Wales up to March 2018 (PDF, 151KB) which provided the context and framework for the development of primary and community care over the three years. The Plan detailed key actions to be taken forward at a national and local level.
In response to the report of the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales (January 2018), the Welsh Government published ‘A Healthier Wales: our Plan for Health and Social Care’ (PDF, 1,452KB) in June 2018, which sets out a long term future vision of a ‘whole system approach to health and social care’, that is focused on health and wellbeing and on preventing illness. A Healthier Wales notes the intention to develop ‘new models of seamless local health and social care’, which will scale from local to regional to national level.
A national Transformation Programme was formed to drive implementation of A Healthier Wales and is led by the Director General for Health and Social Services, supported by a cross-sector Transformation Board. It was also announced that additional money was being made available through a £100m Transformation Fund to support the testing of new service models on the ground.
Under the Transformation Programme, a Primary Care Model for Wales has been established, which supports the vision set out in A Healthier Wales.
The Primary Care Model for Wales has the following areas of focus:
- Primary care key workstreams
- Seamless working across Health Boards and with partner organisations
- Primary care contract reform
More information on the Primary Care Model for Wales can be found in the Strategic Programme for Primary Care (PDF, 582KB) that was published in November 2018. This document provides an overview of the tasks required under each strategic area.
Primary care services will play a key role in service transformation, but there have been concerns about the level of funding they receive. The Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s report (PDF, 851KB) on the Welsh Government’s draft Budget for 2019-20 stated:
Given the policy focus on shifting care out of hospitals, we would have expected to see a significant increase in the level of spend on primary care, but the evidence we have seen shows that this is not happening. We believe this illustrates the challenges facing health boards in achieving service transformation, given the ongoing pressures they face in the acute sector for example. Given that the direction of travel for services as set out in A Healthier Wales is toward delivery of services to be undertaken in primary and community healthcare, we are very concerned that the proposed funding for primary care will not be sufficient to support this objective. [page 9]
Article by Rebekah James, Senedd Research, National Assembly for Wales