IN their latest briefing, the Welsh NHS Confederation calls on the Welsh Government and local leaders to consider the contributions the NHS can make to economic recovery following the pandemic. 

The briefing, ‘Health, wealth and wellbeing: The NHS’ role in economic and social recovery‘, raises awareness of the direct and indirect contributions that the NHS in Wales makes to the economy and local communities, including to the health and wellbeing of the population. 

As the largest employer in local areas, a key purchaser of goods and services, and a capital estate holder and developer, NHS organisations in Wales act as anchor institutions, whose long-term sustainability is tied to the wellbeing of the population. 

The briefing calls for the Welsh Government and local leaders to place health and sustainability at the heart of all national COVID-19 recovery and economic plans, by embedding health and care within national and local regeneration planning, ensuring a much greater alignment between health and care strategies and those relating to wider economic development.  

Nesta Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:

“There’s a clear link between health and wealth – we know that a healthy population is a productive and prosperous one, and vice versa. Interventions designed to improve health, inclusive growth and wellbeing in Wales are in the interests of all local, regional and national partners, businesses and communities and should be a shared priority.

“As we enter the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS in Wales will have a vital role in the wider economic recovery and rebuilding local economies and communities. We hope this briefing evidences the ways in which the NHS already supports local economies across Wales, but also recommends how we can further make a difference to the health, wealth and wellbeing of our communities.”

Alex Howells, Chief Executive, Health Education and Improvement Wales, said:

“The NHS has a huge role to play in supporting the economy as an employer, and yet we know that currently we have some significant deficits in our workforce that could provide opportunities for so many more people.

“It is critical we focus on how we develop the local workforce we need and ensure the education and training pipelines into health professions and occupations are as flexible and accessible as possible.

“With our partners in Higher Education we invest significantly in education and training in Wales, so it is essential we work closely to ensure this delivers the workforce opportunities that we need for the future in the best way for the people of Wales”.