Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Creating and investing in Adferiad (recovery) services to support people suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19 – more commonly known as long-Covid – has been a priority. While the emergency phase of the pandemic may be over, coronavirus has not yet gone away, and we expect demand for Adferiad services to continue for some time.
To date, we have invested £10m to support the development of these community-based, integrated and multi-professional rehabilitation services in all health board areas in Wales.
In February and September last year, I provided updates about the reviews of the Adferiad programme. The report published today provides further assurance the Adferiad services continue to meet the needs of people accessing them. Most people who have received care have reported improved quality of life and a positive experience of the services.
The development of Adferiad services has enabled all health boards to build vital capacity in community rehabilitation and recovery services. It has also helped to develop workforce skills and expertise. As a result, we have a valuable community asset, which we must both nurture and capitalise on.
Today, I am announcing an increase in funding for Adferiad services from £5m to £8.3m from April 2023. This will support a widening of access on a “needs led” or “symptom led” basis for people with other long-term conditions whose rehabilitation and recovery needs are similar to people with long-Covid – for example, people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia and other post-viral associated conditions.
Not feeling understood and heard and feeling invisible are commonly reported experiences by people with these conditions and many have felt frustrated that they have not been able to access Adferiad services. This increase in funding will help ensure equitable access.
It will also continue to support the self-management Covid recovery app and the All-Wales guideline for the management of long-Covid.
This recurrent funding will create solid foundations for the sustainable and continued development of the community integrated and multi-professional rehabilitation and recovery service model that underpins Adferiad services.
It is my hope that Adferiad will not only help alleviate the long-lasting health effects of the pandemic, but it will also tackle some of lingering and often overlooked socio-economic inequalities associated with long-term conditions – the loss or reduction of income and the loss of a sense of purpose. Supporting people to return to work or education is important for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
I expect to see access to Adferiad services widened. This investment, which complements funding to expand primary and community care capacity provided to the NHS, local authorities and Regional Partnership Boards, must be used to galvanise and integrate the efforts of local services to improve the health and care outcomes of local populations.