Future of the Welsh NHS in danger if challenges are not met “head on”

A team of independent experts has warned that the health and social care system in Wales will not be sustainable without serious changes.

Responding to the Parliamentary Review of health and social care, Shadow Health Secretary, Angela Burns, said “the very future of the Welsh NHS is in danger”.

She said:

“There is real consensus that we need change, because without that change the very future of the Welsh NHS is in danger.

“Our country is facing serious demographic challenges – even more so here than in other parts of the UK.

“That challenge must be met head on.

“Around £7 billion a year is spent on health and social care, much of which is spent dealing with the after effects of things the Welsh NHS cannot control – such as poor housing, a lack of education and, of course, poverty.

“This report recognises those issues and in its second part must concentrate on bringing forward real solutions and a clear road map to success.”

Mrs Burns said the report identified “green shoots of recovery” – but added that very deep concerns remain over services for people with mental health issues in Wales.

She said:

“You can see the green shoots of innovation throughout the health service, but there are clear difficulties translating those ideas into policies which can be replicated across the board.

“All too often innovation is crushed by red tape or under-funding by Welsh Government.

“Worse still, mental health services in Wales remain the Cinderella service in the Welsh NHS.”