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What we have to say

Throughout the pandemic the 7 community health councils in Wales have been hearing from people and local communities about the things that matter most to them about their health and care services and what they want to see in the future. 

Although we’ve missed the face to face contact that makes such a difference when working with people to hear about health and care matters, CHCs have worked tirelessly to hear from people in new ways, both directly and through community representatives and groups. 

Responding to what we’ve heard, CHCs want to see the route to a new health and care system in Wales that:

  • Provides easy access to health and care services delivered in an integrated way, as close to home as possible
  • Tackles – once and for all – the health inequalities that have been so devastatingly demonstrated throughout the pandemic, so that wherever you live and whatever your background and characteristics, people in Wales can be confident of support to stay healthy and well, to get the care and treatment they need when they need it in the way they need it
  • Avoids any postcode lottery for health and care services, delivering equitably for people living in all parts of Wales in a way that places equal value on physical and mental health services, and health and social care provision
  • Understands and responds to the longer term impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives, their health, care and well-being.  This includes continuing to learn, understand and respond to the:
  •  mental health and wellbeing needs of our whole population, and particularly children and younger people, where the impact of the pandemic has the potential to be so long lasting and wide ranging.  Early identification and responses through a range of therapies and interventions is key to this
  • Need to properly support the mental health needs of people living with serious mental health conditions improving the provision pre pandemic and making sure their needs are not squeezed out
  • Continues to learn and develop services to meet the needs of people with long-COVID.  People’s perception in Wales is that the community pathways approach is not as good as the long COVID clinic approach in England. 

Its too early to tell what the reality is BUT health and care services need to monitor, learn from each other and further develop the service for people with long COVID.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard most of all about its impact on people waiting for diagnosis, care and treatment.  Waiting times in many services were way too long before the pandemic (things like diagnostics, orthopaedics, eye care, dentistry…and so on) – the aim cannot be to get back to where we were – it must be more ambitious than that.

People want to clearly see how services will recover.  We know that previous ways of tackling waiting lists will not work this time around, and that creativity and innovation is going to be key to tackling backlogs.

When doing this, people want to see the things that have worked well for them during the pandemic continue into the future – things like digital healthcare, health and care partners (including the 3rd sector) working together within in local communities, etc.,  BUT they don’t want a ‘one size fits all’ approach – health and care services must be delivered flexibly, in a way that meets peoples individual needs.

OUR health and care services for the future must be designed and developed WITH people – and not DONE TO them.  People in Wales care so passionately about their health and care services and the people who deliver those services – they must have their SAY in their services for the future. 

People understand that during the pandemic things needed to change quickly and this meant it was not possible to engage and consult people in the usual way. 

But designing sustainable services for the future is different – this MUST be done together, through continuous engagement and public consultation where this is appropriate. 

For the CHC movement, throughout the pandemic we have valued closer working with policy makers to share people’s experiences in real time so that early action can be taken to address issues quickly.

We look forward to continuing and building on this in the future so that we can all play our part in tackling the challenges we face together.


Board of Community Health Councils in Wales, 3rd Floor, 33 - 35 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HB
Phone: 02920 235 558 Email: enquiries@waleschc.org.uk

We welcome correspondence in Welsh, and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay
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