Health Inequalities

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Mark Drakeford: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am fynd i’r afael ag anghydraddoldebau iechyd yng Nghymru

Mark Drakeford:” “Will the Minister make a statement on tackling health inequalities in Wales

Lesley Griffiths: Good health and wellbeing should not depend on where people live or their social circumstances. The importance of reducing health inequalities is highlighted in our five-year vision for the NHS in Wales, ‘Together for Health’. We are committed to achieving this through our ‘Fairer Health Outcomes for All’ action plan.

Mark Drakeford: In the reforms that are bound to be needed in the health service over the coming years, will you pay particular attention to the need to ensure that we spend our money where the need is greatest? In the end, that is the best way to tackle health inequalities. In doing that, will you keep a particular eye on the needs of mental health service users, who we know are already disadvantaged in all sorts of other ways, including employment, housing, access to education and other parts of social life?

Lesley Griffiths: The first point you raise is very important. Looking at the inverse care law, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Julian Tudor Hart, and discussing that with him. We need to do a big piece of work on this, which is what I plan to do in the coming months. In order to have an agreed model, I have had officials look at the Deep End project that is being undertaken in Scotland, which Members may be aware of. It looks at the difference between good and bad care in different social areas, the difference that practices serving deprived areas can make and what they could achieve. That is very important. In relation to your point about mental health, we agree that the inequalities must be completely addressed. That is why we have the draft mental health strategy, ‘Together for Mental Health’, which I launched on 8 May, and that takes a cross-government approach. I do not know whether you were at the launch of Time to Change Wales by Mind Cymru in the Wales Millennium Centre, where we heard from people with mental health problems about their difficulties in accessing employment. I should also add that Wales is the first country in the world to introduce a mental health Measure, which ensures that people who come into contact with specialist services have a holistic care and treatment plan.