Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
20 September 2019
Last updated:

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NHS health boards and trusts are required to produce Integrated Medium Term Plans (IMTPs) annually in accordance with the National Health Service Finance (Wales) Act 2014, setting out how they will use their resources over a 3 year period to deliver high quality healthcare services, which address population needs and deliver improved health outcomes.

In March, I was pleased to announce the approval of plans for seven NHS organisations that had submitted balanced and achievable 3 year plans for the 2019-22 planning cycle, which was an improvement on previous years and demonstrated that progress is being made.

I have today published the NHS Wales Planning Framework for 2020-23 which provides direction for clear and deliverable IMTPs for the next planning cycle. This will support NHS organisations to plan and deliver the national priorities that have been set out and, importantly, continue to improve the quality of care patients receive in Wales, leading to better patient outcomes. Quality is the thread that must be reflected throughout plans and be in health and care planning in Wales.

I am also pleased that this year, for the first time, the National Integrated Medium Term Plan (IMTP) has been issued alongside and has informed the NHS Wales Planning Framework. The production of the National IMTP was a commitment made in 'A Healthier Wales: our plan for health and social care' and provides a national overview of the previous planning cycle. This is an important opportunity to ensure lessons are learnt and best practice shared, to further strengthen the maturity of the integrated planning system. 

It has now been a little more than a year since the publication of 'A Healthier Wales' which sets the challenge of a ”revolution from within” to ensure that our health and social care system is able to meet the needs of both the current and future generations in Wales. To do this, I am clear that we must see closer collaboration between partners and further evidence of a seamless whole system approach to health and social care. This must go beyond our existing partnerships to ensure the social, environmental and economic factors that affect health, equity, well-being and life chances are addressed with the utmost urgency.

'A Healthier Wales' also set out a requirement for a stronger emphasis on the role of Regional Partnership Boards. I am satisfied that over the last year, strides have been made in the development of relationships between the NHS and their local Regional Partnership Boards.

IMTPs continue to offer opportunities for NHS organisations to secure their trajectory for change. Looking ahead to how organisations continue to develop their planning in response to this Framework, I want to see evidence of how organisations collaborate more closely and consistently with social services, along with the third sector, housing and the independent sector. In order to ensure the future sustainability of our NHS for the generations that will follow us, we must embrace change and innovate where necessary at every opportunity.

The national strategy, 'Prosperity for All', alongside 'A Healthier Wales', highlights the importance of population health organisations focused on prevention, reducing health inequalities and working with stakeholders to address population needs. I am keen to see how organisations plan, using the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act sustainable development principles, to make further inroads to achieve a truly integrated whole system approach, where the citizen is at the heart of planning.

My priorities remain the same and I want to take this opportunity to provide greater clarity on the emphasis I expect to see in plans this year. The plans themselves must take a whole-system approach to integrated planning and set out how healthcare services will be delivered across the patient pathway. There will also be a particular focus on reducing health inequalities in all its forms, a broad focus on prevention, not just traditional areas of lifestyle and immunisation; timely and equitable access to care, developing the primary care model for Wales and care closer to home and improving mental health services to achieve parity with physical health services. These reflect the fundamental values and principles I want to see throughout health and social care in Wales.

The Framework and National IMTP are available on the Welsh Government’s website at:

NHS Wales planning framework 2020 to 2023

NHS Wales national integrated medium term plan (IMTP) 2019 to 2022