£3.5m to develop primary care services in Wales

A £3.5m funding boost to develop primary healthcare services in Wales has been announced by Mark in his capacity as Health Minister.

The funding, which is being made available in 2014-15, will be targeted at action to improve health and reduce inequalities in the most deprived communities; develop primary care teams and provide eye care services closer to people’s homes.

The areas being funded are:

• The development of a multi-disciplinary primary care workforce, which makes more effective use of GPs’ time and expertise. The funding will help train more advanced nurses, therapists and clinical pharmacists to work in primary care to support GPs;

• Two innovative inverse care law schemes in Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf university health board areas, which aim to reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular disease in deprived communities;

• The provision of follow-up eye care appointments closer to people’s homes.

Mark said:

“We need to rebalance the way the NHS provides services in line with the principles of prudent healthcare towards a preventative primary care-led NHS, which is integrated with social care and has close links with services provided by the third and independent sectors.

“We have a health service which is free at the point of need but that doesn’t mean that it is free of obligation – we all have a duty to take responsibility for our own health and to use our health services appropriately.

“This new funding will help realise our ambition to create a strong, highly-trained primary care workforce, which can deliver a wide-range of services in local communities, reducing our dependence on hospital-based care. It will also see more follow-up eye appointments provided closer to patients’ homes instead of in a hospital setting.

“Tackling poverty and reducing inequalities – both of which are linked to poor health – are key priorities for the Welsh Government. This is why part of the funding package I’m announcing today will focus on improving the health of the most deprived communities and helping to reduce the often deadly impact of cardiovascular disease on these communities.”