Health Delivery Is Getting Better; Primary Care Is at the Heart of Community Well-Being

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 3, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Health Delivery Is Getting Better; Primary Care Is at the Heart of Community Well-Being


Byline: JANE HUTT AM

Health is of interest to us all. It matters to us all. The NHS, its problems and its achievements, is always topical and we all have strong views on the service it delivers.

No other public service is held in such high esteem and provokes so much debate. We all care about its future because we have direct experience of what it has to offer but as Dr Bob Broughton of the BMA said last week, ``The NHS can be related to a vast seagoing tanker, which takes miles to stop and turn.''

The part of the NHS we come into contact with most often is not hospitals but those professions working directly in our communities, GPs, nurses, optometrists, pharmacists and dentists.

They are our first point of contact with the NHS and the place where the vast majority of our health needs are sorted out. More than 90pc of the general public's experience of the NHS takes place at primary care level both day and night.

It goes without saying that primary care is a vital part of the NHS. It is its very foundation. The whole primary care team play a vitally important role in the delivery of care linking up to the hospital and emergency services.

It is common sense that the primary care team should be strengthened and that those who are working on the frontline in our communities should have more say in the running of the NHS. They are aware of the needs of their communities on the ground because they are there themselves dealing with daily issues and problems.

The new Local Health Boards which will take over from the health authorities in April next year will put primary care in the lead. The primary care team will decide what is needed for their area, that funding gets to where it's needed without delay.

The new structure will be unique in the UK as it will match the NHS with local authorities, ensuring that they can work even closer together forging the links to deliver the best possible care for people.

Together their concerns and responsibilities will extend to issues relating to health in the widest sense, making the links between health, housing and the environment, putting community health development on the agenda to tackle the poverty and inequalities which have such an impact on the need for health services in Wales.

There can be no denying that this is a time of great change. But it is change for the better. It's not just the structure which is changing. The Welsh Assembly Government has already delivered improvements in the primary care services we use every day.

Wales is the only country in the UK where people under 25 have free prescriptions. This is a significant development as people in this group are often on low incomes as they are either studying or earn less than others if they are in employment. The cost of prescriptions in Wales has been frozen for two consecutive years, whereas elsewhere in the UK the cost has risen.

Good eyesight is very important to us all and we have put in place truly innovative schemes to provide care for those who are most vulnerable to problems. Free eye care examinations have been introduced for those people most likely to suffer from eye diseases which can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Those suffering from diabetes in Wales will have free access to an eye screening service which will detect the first signs of difficulty, which can cause serious complications if undiagnosed. This scheme, again, is leading the way in the UK.

Later this year I will be launching a Low Vision Aid scheme which will enable people who suffer with poor eyesight to be assessed in order that appropriate help can be provided to assist with their daily lives. This service will be provided by optometrists.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Health Delivery Is Getting Better; Primary Care Is at the Heart of Community Well-Being
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?