It is no secret that, just like every health service in the UK, the NHS in Wales is facing challenges from the effects of austerity; from an ageing population; from changes in medicine; from a more engaged and informed public, but there are many reasons to be hopeful for the future. The challenges we face provide us with opportunities to focus on the things that really matter – providing excellent care to those who need it most. I believe prudent healthcare will help NHS Wales do just that. When we start using the principles of prudent healthcare and co-production as the guide for how we work with patients, we will focus on what the people using and providing our health services actually value and contribute to a healthier Wales.
Since first talking about prudent healthcare and its potential for NHS Wales in January, I have been delighted with the debate that has taken place about the principles, the way it has been enthusiastically embraced by people working within the NHS and other public services and the many examples of prudent healthcare which have come to the fore. Prudent healthcare will not be delivered by Welsh Government directives. It will require those working in the NHS, and its partners, to think about what it means to their disciplines, service areas, and professions, including the practical steps they can take to ensure it is embedded in everyday practice. The public must also think about what a prudent NHS Wales might mean for them, including taking responsibility for their own health.
For these reasons, I am delighted to welcome you to this website, which aims to capture just some of the perspectives of those working in or using health and social care services in Wales about what prudent healthcare means to them and its potential for Wales. This is the first instalment; a second will follow in January. I am using the launch of this resource to mark the next stage in the journey of making prudent healthcare happen; a stage characterised by a move from talking about the principles to taking action to secure their implementation and advancement.
Prudent healthcare will not suddenly happen overnight – this is the start of a journey. This website allows you to add your voice and your comments to the discussion – I hope you will comment on the contributions and take an active part in helping to shape and establish prudent healthcare in NHS Wales. I will be reading the articles with great interest.
Professor Mark Drakeford AM
Minister for Health and Social Services, Welsh Government