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The Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton has warned of the health threats facing Wales from the rise in anti-vaccination campaigns and antibiotic overuse.

First published:
7 May 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

In his annual report published today (7 May) the CMO highlights the importance of vaccinations and the risks to those who are not vaccinated against preventable diseases. 

Dr Frank Atherton, said

“NHS Wales offer a range of immunisation programmes from infancy to old age as protection from a wide range of infectious diseases. Most people do choose to be vaccinated, but a small minority remain unconvinced by the safety and benefits of vaccines. 

“Vaccination remains by far the most effective means of protection against diseases such as measles. We need to work with clinicians and other experts to ensure that parents are fully informed of the benefits of vaccination, to ensure maximum uptake of the vaccine and achieve our aim of eradicating preventable diseases.

“Similarly older people need to understand the health benefits to them of vaccination against influenza, pneumococcal disease and shingles.”

Alongside the threats of preventable diseases the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report also raised concerns around the increased threat from antibiotic resistance. The Antimicrobial Resistance national action plan aims to reduce our antibiotic use by 15% by 2025.

In his report, Dr Atherton discusses the importance of health data research as well as building on the Prudent Healthcare principles launched in 2014, by using a Value Based Healthcare approach.

He said:

“Without research there wouldn’t be treatments like IVF or devices such as pacemakers - and we certainly wouldn’t know that smoking causes cancer.
“Health and care research is about finding out new knowledge that could lead to changes in treatments, policies or care.

It is also important that we use the resources at our disposal to their very best effect, which is why I am advocating a Value Based Healthcare approach in Wales.

“There is a huge amount of interest in this work, as well as in the research we do in Wales and we should be proud that Wales is increasingly being seen as a place where innovation and new ways of working are welcomed.