WALES’ Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan has set out the Welsh Government plans a £100m investment to kick-start the health and care system’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money for new equipment, staff, technology, and ways of working will help health boards improve services across primary, community and hospital care, by increasing capacity and cutting waiting times as they begin resuming non-emergency care following the pandemic.
Eluned Morgan said: “Helping our health and social care services recover from the pandemic is going to take time, investment, and a new approach to delivering care.
“The remarkable commitment of our NHS and social care workers has helped us through this pandemic to a point where we can now start to think about the future. I am determined that we now provide them the support they need to help the service recover.
“I am under no illusions about the size of the task ahead, but it is also important to recognise we now have a real opportunity to transform the delivery of health and care services.
“We must take this opportunity to create a health and care system that is fit for the future. The pandemic saw the early and swift adoption of new technology and ways of working, I want to see health boards build on this good work.
“The Welsh Government is committing an extra £1bn to support our recovery plan. Today I am detailing how an initial £100m will be allocated to our NHS to start this work.”
The initial £100m will be allocated as follows:
• Cardiff and Vale £13m to increase capacity for a range of therapies and diagnostics, including staff recruitment and two new mobile theatres.
• Powys £2.5m to transform patient services and increase capacity for a range of services.
• Cwm Taf Morgannwg £16m for recruitment and investment in surgical and diagnostic capacity.
• Hywel Dda £13m to improve capacity for planned care, including hospital redesign, investment in diagnostics.
• Aneurin Bevan Health £17m for projects to increased capacity in planned care, diagnostics, therapies, and mental health.
• Swansea Bay £16m to increase capacity in a wide range of areas, including theatres, recruitment, and ophthalmology.
• Betsi Cadwaldr £20m to increase capacity in planned care, cancer, dental, diagnostics and endoscopy.
• Velindre £2.5m to increase capacity for radiotherapy.
Welsh Conservative MS for Vale of Clwyd, Gareth Davies MS said: “Sadly, Covid-19 has exposed Labour’s historic mismanagement of our NHS, with underfunding and poor treatment of staff leaving our treasured service incredibly fragile.
“We entered the crisis with record waiting lists and cancer targets not met since 2008, and as we come out of the pandemic, a staggering 1 in 5 people in Wales are now stuck on a waiting list.
“This is causing unnecessary pain and discomfort for hundreds of thousands of people across the country and putting lives at risk, and whilst we welcome any investment to tackle the huge backlog, this injection of cash will only scratch the surface.
“We now need to see clear recovery plans developed and implemented for all areas of public health, utilising cross border and independent facilities to speed up treatment, so we can rebuild the NHS and treat people as quickly as possible.”
Plaid Cymru’s Spokesperson for Health and Care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “The pandemic’s impact on NHS waiting times has been devastating, with thousands of procedures delayed and cancelled, and thousands of people thought to have missed a cancer diagnosis.
“However, we all remember that waiting times were already too high before the pandemic, so this can’t be about returning things to the ‘pre-pandemic normal’.
“To turn things around, the Labour Welsh Government must introduce a concrete, ambitious recovery plan, that puts NHS Wales in a better position than we were at the start of the pandemic.
“As a matter of urgency, this must prioritise early cancer diagnosis, bringing the undiagnosed into the system and providing effective care for those patients in later stages of cancer who will need more complex treatments.”