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Written Statement - Future of Together for Health Delivery Plans

Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister for Health

The Welsh Government’s five-year health strategy Together for Health, which was published in 2011, outlined the vision for the Welsh NHS and its partners and led to the creation of delivery plans for major conditions.

Each major health condition has its own delivery plan, which has been developed by clinicians, patients and advocates for excellent care. They outline the actions which will be taken to improve patient outcomes, patient experience and services.

These plans provide a focus for activity in relation to major conditions. Successes from this work can be seen in:

  • More people are surviving cancer than ever before; 
  • Heart disease survival rates are improving and fewer people are dying prematurely from coronary heart disease thanks to improved detection;
  • The number of people dying from stroke has fallen by 1,000 a year;
  • More people are surviving life-threatening injuries and illnesses as a result of the specialist care they receive in critical care units in Welsh hospitals;
  • The number of emergency admissions for stroke, heart disease and diabetes is falling as a result of better management in the community.
  • Wales is the only country to provide 24/7 consultant-led specialist palliative care advice and support to health professionals caring for those approaching end of life. 
  • Ninety-three per cent of responses to the iWantGreatCare patients’ evaluation of experiences of specialist palliative care were positive.  The average score was 9.5 out of 10.

Most of the delivery plans are due to end in 2016. The plans will now be extended until March 2020 to maintain the focus on improving services, outcomes and patient experience. This is not about extending the deadline for delivery – this is about building on the significant successes we have achieved together to date to ensure the right care is provided at the right time and in the right place. Each of the plans contains clear milestones and we will continue to expect all the actions to be delivered in the timescales set out in the plans.

Each plan will be reviewed and refreshed at the end of its current cycle by the respective delivery plan implementation groups. This will enable the plans to reflect the Welsh Government’s new Prudent Healthcare Plan, which will be published in January 2016 and any new national priorities set after the National Assembly elections in May 2016.

In 2016, the cancer, heart disease, diabetes, end-of-life care, critically ill and stroke delivery plans will all be reviewed and refreshed. The respiratory and neurological conditions plans will be reviewed in 2017, with the primary care, oral health and eye health plans following in 2018. The liver disease delivery plan is due to end in 2020

The decision to extend the delivery plans as a means of securing improvements to services and outcomes for people with a major condition follows the Welsh Government’s decision to invest £10m in the delivery plans. The cancer, diabetes, stroke, neurological, respiratory, end-of-life, mental health, liver, heart disease and critical care delivery plans have been allocated £1m to invest in key priorities, which will to deliver tangible improvements to patient outcomes.

A Welsh Health Circular setting out the extension of plans and the refresh process has been issued and is available here:

http://gov.wales/docs/dhss/publications/150917whc046en.pdf