Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services
Innovation has been an important part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, we have seen a rapid shift to new digital ways of working, close partnership working between the NHS and suppliers to provide essential PPE and to develop new apps, and excellent contact tracing and vaccine delivery services, all set up across Wales in record time.
This was an outstanding effort from the NHS, local authorities, and key partners. It was also enabled by our investment in innovation over recent years, as set out in 'A Healthier Wales', our strategy for health and social care, published in 2018.
During this most challenging of times we have seen just how strong innovation in Wales is. I am determined that we continue to build on those achievements, recognise excellence and good practice, and hold on to the learning from the last 18 months. I want to maintain the pace and scale of change, as part of our recovery from Covid-19, and to ensure that we deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and the public in Wales.
I have asked officials to consolidate existing health and social care innovation activities into a single programme, and to engage with key partners and stakeholders over the summer on the new programme and future opportunities, including how the new programme will form part of the future Innovation Strategy for Wales.
This Innovation Programme for Health and Social Care will bring a tighter focus to existing activities, will strengthen national direction, and will lock in changes we have seen in response to the pandemic, helping to maintain the pace and scale of change in health and social care.
In June I joined Ministers from all four nations to discuss the Life Sciences Vision, recently published by UK Government. The Vision is an ambitious statement of intent. The Innovation Programme for Health and Social Care will help to ensure that Wales is fully engaged in the work to translate that vision to delivery, across every part of the UK.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.