Skip to main content

Vaughan Gething Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
24 March 2021
Last updated:

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

A Healthier Wales (AHW) was launched in the summer of 2018 along with 40 actions to focus activity on the transformation required to achieve our vision of an integrated whole system approach to health and social care. 

A Cabinet Paper A Healthier Wales Two Years On was presented in September 2020 to provide a progress update. Cabinet agreed that it was important to take the time to reflect on AHW and ensure it was relevant in the current climate and as we move forward with the stabilisation and recovery of services. It was acknowledged that the foundation of AHW had strengthened partnerships and collaboration across both organisational and geographical boundaries, which was a testament to the collective commitment of public services to respond to community needs. 

COVID-19 has accelerated transformational change in how health and social care services are being delivered and the response to the pandemic has brought forward the implementation of a number of long term plans. As we move forward, AHW will continue to be our strategic framework for developing and implementing new ways of working.    

The original vision for AHW has been validated and remains relevant for the Wales of today.  We now have the opportunity to restate the AHW priorities, lock in the progress we have made and ensure that we learn from the pandemic response whilst maintaining the innovative practices and new ways of working introduced. 

New models of care supported through the Transformational Fund and Integrated Care Fund have been important to the regional response to COVID-19, including rapid discharge from hospital to home and admission avoidance models. Significant and accelerated investment in digital technology has enabled rapid service transformation and the continuation of essential services in a safe environment.

Following support from Cabinet, we have now critically reviewed the actions set out in AHW.  We have closed some actions and drafted new actions where these are required to support the stabilisation and recovery of services following COVID-19 and to reflect priorities that have been brought to the forefront by the pandemic.

These new actions look to build resilient communities in Wales and focus on health inequities, prevention, mental health, children and young people and decarbonisation. The new actions list contains 26 actions; 19 of the original AHW actions and 7 new ones, and we have focused on the following key themes:

  • Determinants of Health
  • Digital and Technology
  • Engagement
  • Evaluation
  • Funding
  • Incentivising the System
  • New Models
  • Planning
  • System Governance
  • Workforce

Specifically, the new actions are:

Revised action


Decarbonisation - Encourage and support health and social care delivery organisations to reduce energy use and carbon emissions to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change in line with our commitment to be a globally responsible Wales.

Determinants of Health

Inequities - Drive good practice to reduce health inequities and outcomes with a focus on those brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Determinants of Health

Prevention – Build on the behaviours and personal responsibility demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people stay well through an integrated approach to improving the nation’s health and wellness. With a focus on rehabilitation, re-ablement and recuperation, provide active support to keep people healthy, maximise recovery and maintain independent living.

Determinants of Health

Children and Young People - Ensure our transformation to a system of seamless health and care provision promotes the wider adoption of integrated and effective interventions for children, resulting in greater positive health and wellbeing outcomes over time.

Determinants of Health

Mental Health - Health and social care partners to work with Welsh Government to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure that all people in Wales have access to appropriate mental health support. 

Determinants of Health

Capture innovative practices and new ways of working achieved during COVID-19 and ensure benefits are maintained in the Health & Social Care system

New Models

Community based care - Develop value based, whole system care pathways for prevention, detection, treatment and ongoing care as close to home as possible, and ensure that relevant measures are developed to capture the outcomes that matter to patients.

New Models

This review will ensure that our long term plan for an integrated health and care system remains relevant as we deal with the challenges ahead.