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Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
7 February 2023
Last updated:

The Covid-19 pandemic demanded a health protection response at an unprecedented scale and the health protection system in Wales adapted quickly to respond. It is critical we learn from the way the system operated pre-pandemic and its’ response during the pandemic to maximise our capability to respond to current, emerging and future threats.

In Summer 2022 I agreed to commission an independent review of the health protection system in Wales. The review was conducted by David Heymann - Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, London. From 2012 to March 2017, he was Chairman of Public Health England. David was supported by Sara Hayes who was formerly Director of Public Health at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The review has now concluded, and the final report has been published today. The reviewers praised the innovation shown in Wales during the pandemic and the way individuals worked together across organisational boundaries to respond for the people of Wales. Their report provides recommendations as to how the health protection system in Wales can be further strengthened.

I am pleased to welcome this report and extend my thanks to both David and Sara. I am also grateful to the individuals and organisations across our public health protection system whose expert opinion and engagement has contributed to this review. It will be essential for us in Wales to build on this collaboration and capitalise on the momentum we have created from our collective response to the pandemic to strengthen our health protection system for future generations.

Discussions have already started with partners and an initial implementation plan to outline how the system will work together to address the recommendations of this review has been developed. The implementation work will be overseen by the Health Protection Advisory Group chaired by the Chief Medical Officer.

I will continue to keep Members updated on progress.