Plans to improve patient access to health professionals in Wales
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced plans to improve access to health professionals through new ways of working.
The new plans aim to allow people to directly access health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists dietitians and others at primary care health centres. There will also be a greater emphasis on prevention to reduce reliance on medicines and improve quality of life.
Mr Gething said:
Our long term plan for health and social care, A Healthier Wales, sets out how we need to radically change the way services are delivered to meet future demand. We also need to move away from health and social care which focuses on treating people when they become unwell, to one that supports people to stay well, lead healthier lifestyles and live independently for as long as possible.
By accessing allied health professionals such as physiotherapy and dietitians directly at their local health centre, people can get the treatment they need more quickly. There are already good examples of this happening around Wales. I want to see that best practice become standard, which these plans will help us achieve.
Examples of current best practice include a first contact physiotherapy service in Caerphilly, walk-in podiatry service in Port Talbot, Prestatyn Iach Health Centre and direct access occupational therapists in south Pembrokeshire helping people get back to work.
Mr Gething added:
As we move towards a system of integrated primary care centres across Wales, the framework I’m launching today aims to make it easier and quicker for people to access services.
The Minister officially launched the Allied Health Professions Framework at the National Primary Care Conference at the International Conference Centre, Celtic Manor, Newport today.
A new Allied Health Professions lead for Primary Care will be appointed to lead the transformation of services in primary care.
The framework will also improve access to allied health professions in secondary care and improve access to rehabilitation to help people recover more quickly after a hospital admission and return home as independently as possible. The Welsh Government recently provided £1.4m to health boards to increase access to rehabilitation services.