Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
In April the Public Health White Paper was published, which signalled the Welsh Government’s continued commitment to pursuing legislation as a means of improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of people in Wales. Members were updated about the consultation in an oral statement on 7 October and I am now pleased to publish a summary report of the responses to the consultation.
The Public Health White Paper set out a series of bold and practical legislative proposals to address specific health challenges, in areas such as tobacco control, electronic cigarettes, alcohol use and access to toilets for public use. The proposals were grounded in the principles of prudent health and further positioned population health and prevention as central characteristics of our agenda in Wales. Importantly, the proposals sit alongside the overarching approach to legislation being pursued through the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill, which places improved health as a central goal for public services in Wales.
The White Paper proposals generated lively debate and widespread interest. The breadth of strongly held views on the full range of proposals illustrated the importance of these issues to people across Wales. No single proposal produced unanimity. In every case, there were those who argued that the proposals should be extended and taken further, just as there were some who argued for more modest reform. The responses provided a wealth of valuable information and evidence in relation to all of the topics covered in the White Paper.
The consultation generated a high volume of responses and strong general support for what we are striving to achieve. More than 700 responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders and members of the public. As protecting the future health and wellbeing of children and young people is such an important focus of many of the proposals, it was particularly encouraging that the views of more than 200 children and young people were represented in the responses.
A summary report cannot capture every issue raised during the consultation process, but every contribution made has been welcomed, read and considered. I am grateful to all those who took the time to submit their views and participated in the public meetings and debates. A series of documents containing the responses will be published alongside the summary report.
The Welsh Government will reflect on the responses received as detailed work continues to bring forward legislation on the proposals set out in the White Paper before summer recess in 2015. I will ensure Members are kept informed of progress.
The summary of responses will be available on the Welsh Government’s website.