NHS 75: Wales' healthcare system needs improvement

Medical staff in a hospital ward

The health minister is anticipated to state that Wales' NHS is unfit for the future in its present form.

Eluned Morgan will issue a warning that difficult decisions lie ahead as a result of the growing demand for services at a conference on Thursday to commemorate the NHS's 75th anniversary.

She is anticipated to state that in order to be preserved for future generations, the health service needs to be reformed.

Workers are in short supply at all levels of the healthcare system, according to organizations that represent NHS employees.

The health system will have to care for even more patients in the future due to a predicted increase in diseases like diabetes and cancer.

In the following 20 years, it is anticipated that the number of cancer diagnoses will increase from 20,000 per year to 25,000 per year.

Additionally, it is predicted that by 2035, 17 percent of people will have type 2 diabetes.

There are more complex cases to treat as a result of improvements in treatment and care, longer lifespans, and other factors.

It is anticipated that the minister will also announce an independent review of the NHS's management during her speech.

She will also reiterate her pleas for assistance, urging people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

With about 5,000 open positions in Wales, retention is a significant issue as well.

Cardiff nurses' picket line in December
Strikes by nurses have been ongoing recently, though they have been put on hold.

Workers' strikes over pay and working conditions have caused the health service to experience a number of disruptions.

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, unveiled a 15-year plan earlier this week to hire and educate 300,000 more medical professionals in England.

The independent group that the Welsh government is forming is expected to concentrate on NHS governance, accountability, and whether it can meet future needs.

In the meantime, it has come to light that the first regional diagnostics hub, which serves about half the population, will eventually have a surgery facility to reduce the length of the waiting lists.

One NHS executive expressed his hope that some services will begin by the end of this fiscal year, despite the fact that plans for the new center in south Wales are still in the early stages.

Paul Mears, chief executive of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board
According to Paul Mears of Cwm Taf Morgannwg, "We will have dedicated space that can't be "crashed" by the emergency demand.".

Patients would be willing to travel further for care if it meant they would be seen more quickly in the future, according to Paul Mears, chief of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board, where the diagnostic hub will be situated.

The Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Cardiff and Vale, and Aneurin Bevan health boards in south-eastern Wales will be served by the new Llantrisant-based hub.

Although it was initially advertised as a diagnostics and treatment hub, Mr. Mears said that eventually, it is hoped that it will also offer surgery.

To help reduce the backlog following a pandemic, opposition parties have long called for the creation of surgical hubs that are separate from the needs of emergency patients.

With over 30,000 patients in Wales waiting more than two years for treatment, orthopaedic surgery and other surgery wait times are among the longest in the country.

However, Mr. Mears claimed that health boards with extra capacity had already been collaborating with neighbors to, whenever possible, shorten their waiting lists.

What we're examining, he said, "is how we can work together to think about the collective resources available to us, and we've got some really great examples happening in ophthalmology.".

In an effort to expedite the process for as many people as possible, "We have been providing opportunities for our patients to travel to Cardiff to have their procedure. ".

CT scanner
These hubs are expected to help shorten lengthy waiting lists.

The regional hub will initially offer CT and MRI scans in addition to ultrasounds and will be housed in a set of existing buildings close to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

Although Mr. Mears acknowledged that it would take some time before the site is fully equipped and operational, he hopes that mobile services will be available there by the spring of 2024.

Additionally, we'll be looking to offer care there, so we'll need enough theater space to offer day surgery facilities for various surgical procedures. In addition to other surgical specialties, there may be some orthopaedic capacity, he continued.

Since there are so many emergency patients using the beds, we frequently have to cancel elective operating lists.  .

"With a facility like the one in Llantrisant, we'll have dedicated space that won't be "crashed" by emergency demand coming in the front door.

It will enable doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and others to continue working regardless of how many patients arrive for emergency care.

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