I am both a GP and a Consultant in Public Health. I work part time in inner city Liverpool where I started as a GP in the late 1980s in the radical pioneering Princes Park Health Centre in Toxteth. This was an inspiring experience for me as a young doctor, to work with colleagues who were so passionate and so embedded in their community.

Kathrin Thomas

I now live in North Wales where I also work as a public health doctor. My interests and work focus have been on inequalities in health and in primary care.

There is a strong social gradient in the age at which people get sick, and how many conditions they get- the poorest people get sick 10 years earlier than the richest. I see every day as a GP how austerity and the welfare benefits changes are further grinding people down. The gap in life expectancy is not shifting. This is unfair and shameful, and we can change this.

We have a health system that spends a lot of time, energy and money on the end stages of illness, and is very slow to move to a system that values prevention and wellbeing. I worry that the health service is increasingly undermining people’s resilience, by being risk averse and through over-diagnosing and over-medicalising. We must get better at sharing decisions with patients and the public. Of course, we need a robust health system from prevention to end of life care and this all needs more funding. We have to plan how to shift the money to where the greatest needs are and where the greatest benefit will come. In particular, we do not sufficiently match primary care services according to population needs, which I believe is a fundamental component of addressing inequities in health

We have had a Welsh Labour government or coalition with Plaid Cymru since devolution in 1999, so that health policy has been diverging from England for a long time. Wales has abolished the internal market and moved from commissioning to a planning approach, with unified Health Boards responsible for providing primary, community and secondary care services to their population since 2009. I think we could learn lessons from each other across the devolved nations. However, I am really worried about the threat of privatisation, because the UK market is attractive, and this will impact on the devolved nations, even if the public and governments do not want it.

I have been a Labour Party member since 1992 and I am currently a member of Aberconwy CLP

I am Chair of the Betsi Quthing International Health partnership (a mutual learning partnership between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board serving North Wales and the Ministry of Health, Lesotho)

I am Vice Chair of the Wales for Africa Health Links Network, (who support international health partnerships with countries in sub Saharan Africa)

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