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Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
Eluned Morgan, Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh language

First published:
22 March 2021
Last updated:

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

We know that members and the people across Wales are keen to understand how we take the next steps to a life beyond COVID-19 and what this means for our health and care services as pressure eases.

Currently we remain cautious, but optimistic, about the impact of the exceptional progress made with the vaccination programme and the decline we continue to see in the transmission of the virus. This is beginning to show a welcome reduction in pressure on the NHS and social care. It presents us with an opportunity to look ahead to how we can capture the learning and innovation of the last year and look to recovery.

Today, we have published Health and Social Care in Wales COVID 19: Looking Forward. This sets out our ambitious but realistic approach to building back our health and care system in Wales, in a way that places fairness and equity at its heart.

A Healthier Wales has already set us on the path to transformation. It drives how we work together and do things differently, to create a strong and agile environment in Wales. Importantly, it will deliver the kind of services that matter to people. We are now in a position to make significant strides in adopting new technology and new ways of working to improve our health and social care services. Prevention and wellbeing, in both our mental and physical health, are fundamental to how we rebuild services and deliver care.  As we look forward, we do so in a way that demonstrates our commitment to support the climate change and decarbonisation goals, which will deliver a carbon natural public sector by 2030. 

Health and Social Care in Wales COVID 19: Looking Forward sets out the pillars on which to build a whole system for recovery that includes:

  • Primary and community care
  • Effective hospital services
  • Seamless social care
  • Supportive mental health services, and
  • Wellbeing of our health and social care workforce

These will be underpinned and enabled by the learning from the last year, together with the acceleration and roll out that has occurred in respect to data and digital support.

Our exceptional health and care workforce has been fundamental throughout this pandemic, providing the committed and compassionate care people need. The resilience they have shown, and continue to show, throughout this pandemic is truly inspiring.  We want to take this opportunity once again to thank them for all they have done.

Building a supported, resilient and motivated workforce remains critical and is a key feature within Health and Social Care in Wales COVID 19: Looking Forward. The publication today demonstrates how much we value, not just their skills and commitment, but their wellbeing, as part of a progressive health and care system. The fact that everyone matters and can play their part to the best of their ability, is at the core of our approach.

Health and Social Care in Wales - COVID-19: Looking Forward builds on key lessons learnt, and describes the opportunities and priorities as we recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. It demonstrates our commitment to social partnership, values and expectation of future integration and integrated approaches, and sets out our expectations of delivery.

There are no quick fixes as we work to recover some of huge backlogs that have emerged. We have an undaunted confidence in our health and care partners to embrace the challenges ahead to build back the fair, resilient and compassionate services that the people of Wales deserve.