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Author Archives: Jim Gralton

The Welsh Health Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Vaughan Gething AM has identified three major priorities for primary care in Wales * maintaining the sustainability of the sector, * improving access to services and * delivering more care in a community setting. Central to delivering these are objectives are the emerging GP Clusters / Primary Care Networks. There are 64 networks or clusters in Wales with a population base of 30- 60,000 patients. It is based on promoting partnership and collaborative working. The networks allow general practices and a range of other primary and community care practitioners to get together with their […]
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The Welsh Government and the General Practitioners Committee (Wales) have agreed the details of a new contract in Wales… This follows from an earlier agreement between the Welsh Government and GPC Wales to to relax the Quality Outcome Framework requirements until the beginning of April 2017 to ease workload pressures on GPs during the high demand winter months.    

On November 1st 2016 the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething, announced the establishment of a Parliamentary Review which will look at the key challenges facing the health and social care services in Wales. He said  “ … (it) will review the best available evidence to identify key issues facing our health and social care services and draw out the challenges that these will present over coming years. For example, there are challenges with NHS finances within a reducing Welsh Government budget, workforce planning, recruitment and retention, and meeting the rising demands of healthcare and […]
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Wales is the only part of the UK where “deemed consent” to organ donation applies. The means that any deceased who is over 18 years, is mentally competent and who had lived in Wales for  12 months is deemed to have given consent to organ donation unless they have formally registered their objection. About a decade ago, the UK had a low organ donation rates (13 / million population) compared to countries such countries as Spain, USA and France. As well it had a much lower rate of next of kin refusal. In Wales around three people per month died […]
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At just over £7 billion, health and social care makes up 46% of the Welsh Government’s expenditure. And over the fourth term of the National Assembly health controversy was never from the headlines. This was, in part, inflamed by the fabricated claims of David Cameron in the run up to the UK general election that Offa’s Dyke had become a line between life and death in the UK. Since then two independent reports, by the Nuffield Trust and the OECD, has exposed Cameron’s scurrilous claims. They showed there was no substantial difference between the various health services across the UK. […]
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David Cameron notoriously claimed at the April 2014  Welsh Tory Spring Conference that Offa’s Dyke had become “the line between life and death” due to the performance of the Welsh NHS. However fortunately for the truth and honest debate, almost to the day the Nuffield Trust published its comparative study “The four health systems of the United Kingdom; how do they compare?”. It reported :- However, this latest study ….. reveals that while there are few indicators on which a devolved country does better than England or its North East region, the performance gap between England and the rest of the UK has […]
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The Central Council of the UK wide SHA has highlighted the need for more work to be done on social care as part of building a sustainable health and care system. The Health & Social Care Centre reports that in England expenditure of adult social services over the five year period from 2009-10 ( when the figure was £16.8 billion) expenditure has increased by one per cent in cash terms, a decrease of eight per cent in real terms. This is a reflection of the unbalanced approach to care being taken in that country. Our comrades in Scotland are also […]
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A key feature of Welsh Government health and care policy in Wales has been to recognise the importance of social care and social workers. Achieving this did not happen overnight. It required a clear strategic sense of purpose and political courage. But it is paying off as has been well documented by a piece in The Guardian’s Society pages this week.  

In the 1976 film All the President’s Men, the informant, Deep Throat, advised the investigative journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, to “follow the money” if they wished to get to get to the bottom of what was going on. And the same advice is likely to apply if we are to evaluate national and local government policy priorities in addressing inequalities. The vast bulk of public spending in Wales is undertaken by local health boards and local authorities. Probably correctly, the Welsh Government has decided that “big is best” in terms of the size of the these bodies to delivery these […]
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A recent ICM/BBC poll found that almost two thirds of respondents felt that the NHS in Wales was performing as good as or better than the NHS in England while just over one fifth said it was worse. These findings yet again provide reassuring evidence that David Cameron’s attempts to portray Offa’s Dyke as a line between life and death is unscrupulous, politically motivated scaremongering. Of course the fact that just over one fifth of respondents feels the NHS is worse in Wales means that the Welsh NHS is not without its problems. The latest Welsh Government budget has recognised […]
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The draft overall Welsh Government 2015-16 Health & Social Services budget will increase by 3.6% compared to an overall WG departmental increase of less than 1%. In making this allocation the Welsh Government “.. recognise(s) the importance of taking a prudent approach to healthcare to ensure we secure greater value for patients. Prudent healthcare is underlined by a commitment to rebalance the healthcare system by strengthening primary and community-based care to support the establishment of a more equal relationship between patients and professionals and changing the relationship between health care services and the public characterised by a shared responsibility for […]
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The Daily Mail never fails to excel in biased, nasty and downright misleading reporting. This is the price we pay for a free press but its diatribe against the NHS in Wales is a new low. Apart from the pathetic quality of its research, this type of reporting sows unjustified fear and worry amongst unfortunate Welsh Daily Mail readers. The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, acknowledges that there are issues with the NHS in Wales but so also are there major problems with the NHS in England. Patient surveys of NHS users in Wales show very high levels of […]
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