Evidence submitted in response to this Consultation
The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee was established on 28 June 2016 to examine legislation and hold the Welsh Government to account by scrutinising expenditure, administration and policy matters, encompassing the physical, mental and public health and well-being of the people of Wales, including the social care system.
Integration of Health and Social Care services
This inquiry could look at the progress made to date; and assess the impact of Welsh Government policies and legislation on integration of health and social care services.
NHS Wales currently has a range of waiting time targets, including patient access to inpatient, outpatient and day case treatment or appointments; diagnostic and therapy services; cancer treatment; and mental health services.
There are pressure areas where waiting times remain high, such as in diagnostic and therapy services and certain specialties such as orthopaedics. The Committee could examine the issue of waiting times and scrutinise the Welsh Government’s plans to tackle areas of pressure in more detail.
The Welsh Government Strategy Primary care services for Wales up to March 2018 (February 2015) recognises the growing service demand on the NHS, and primary care in particular, driven by a combination of a population which is living longer, but accompanied by higher levels of chronic long term conditions. The previous Welsh Government recognised that action is required to move the balance of care and resources – including workforce and funding - out of hospitals into the community so people only go to hospital where this is appropriate. The Welsh Government is committed to developing the role of ‘clusters’ - groups of GPs, working with other health and care professionals to plan and provide services locally - as a means of transforming primary care.
Efficiency within the NHS and modern management practices
Improved efficiency in healthcare has been the focus of significant work by bodies such as The Nuffield Trust and The Kings Fund, looking at learning and good practice from within the UK and beyond. The need for sustained efficiency savings has also been highlighted by the Wales Audit Office. The Committee could examine the potential for securing business and industry skills to work with NHS Wales in looking for efficiency opportunities, in both support and clinical services.
The Fourth Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee previously reported on neonatal services. The Committee could undertake an inquiry to monitor progress, specifically looking at ongoing concerns about staffing and the sustainability of services.
Use of antipsychotic medication in care homes
The Older People’s Commissioner and the Flynn Review both highlighted concerns about the inappropriate use of antipsychotics to control the behavioural and psychological symptoms of people living with dementia. The Committee could seek to assess the scale of the problem, and examine possible solutions.
The Committee may follow-up on the work of the former Committee on ambulance services in order to gauge the extent to which improvements are being made, and to examine the outcomes of the new clinical response model (piloted for 12 months from October 2015).
Loneliness and isolation among older people
The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has stated that loneliness and isolation needs to be recognised as a key public health issue. The Committee could examine the issue with an aim of understanding and raising awareness of the health and wellbeing implications of loneliness and isolation for older people.
In their joint report A losing bet?, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Alcohol Concern Cymru stated that lessons must be learned from alcohol research and applied to gambling. The Committee could undertake an inquiry looking at awareness of gambling addiction, the provision of support services, and the steps that could be taken to reduce harm.
Sport and public health
The Welsh Health Survey 2015 shows that obesity levels in Wales have increased since the 2014 survey, with 24% of adults classified as obese and 59% of adults classified as overweight or obese. 58% of adults reported doing at least 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity, in blocks of 10 minutes or more, in the previous week.
Given the inclusion of sport in the health portfolio, the Committee could examine its potential health benefits and the role of NHS Wales in promoting sport and physical activity generally.
Should you wish to speak to someone regarding this consultation, please use the below contact details:
Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
Telephone: 0300 200 6565