Building Wales a Better NHS with the Right Leadership and Support; in the Run-Up to Next Month's National Assembly Elections Each of the Main Political Parties Will Be Explaining Their Health Pledges. Helen Mary Jones, Deputy Leader of Plaid Cymru and the Party's Spokesperson for Health and Social Services, Outlines Plaid's Priorities

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Byline: Helen Mary Jones

WALES was, of course, the birthplace of our NHS. Moving forward, Plaid in government is determined to harness the skills, commitment and passion of frontline staff to build a world-class health and care service.

We have a health and care workforce that is a credit to our nation - people work hard to develop creative solutions to improve patient care and use resources effectively.

But we all know that there's much still to do to spread best practice and get resources out to the frontline. We have to build a better health and care service, and I know Plaid can.

The truth is that we have a national hospital service with directly salaried staff, but the vast bulk of our community health services are in fact provided by independent contractors from whom the NHS buys services.

These independent contractors, by and large, serve our communities well. Where there are gaps in that provision, Plaid in government will roll out our programme of community wellbeing centres, with a cross-section of different health and care professionals directly employed by health boards, providing a range of services tailored to meet that particular community's needs.

We will review the contracts of all independent providers who work for the NHS - GPs, pharmacists, dentists, ophthalmologists and so on - to ensure that those contracts enable these highly-skilled professionals to deliver what our communities need.

We are not always as good as we could be at looking after our own health. We know unhealthy lifestyles, often linked to poverty, and late detection of illness leads far too many of us to chronic ill health, and even - especially in men - to premature death.

Unlike Labour, which appears happy to simply register ill health in patients late in life, Plaid in government will offer all adults an annual health check to aid early detection and to support citizens to take charge of our own health and wellbeing. …