Welsh minister provides update on six goals for urgent and emergency care

The Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, has provided an update to the Send on the six goals for urgent and emergency care in the 12 months since their establishment.

The programme was launched in April 2022, to help health boards and partners deliver the goals, alongside £25 million of funding to enable accelerated progress.

Since then, progress has been made, including the establishment of a programme board and robust governance structure; the appointment of a national programme director and clinical/professional leadership representing urgent primary care, emergency medicine, social care and frailty; and the  implementation of local six goals programmes by health boards and the appointment of their own leadership teams.

Morgan said that since the start of the project, 13 urgent primary care centres have been established across Wales through cluster-based, co-located models at hospitals, and they serve a population of 2.2 million people. 9,000 people now access urgent primary care centres every month without needing a traditional GP appointment or presentation at emergency departments.

On the second key priority to establish and increase access to same-day emergency care services, Morgan said that there are now same-day emergency care services operating across 12 sites in Wales, as well as a new innovative new community-based model.

Morgan said: "The plan has evolved this year to focus on some key principles. This includes supporting health boards to deliver the right capacity in key service areas in the out-of-hours periods; it also includes seven-day delivery; and, ultimately, focusing on getting the basics right in areas such as discharge planning.

"On top of this, we will also be developing and implementing key clinical pathways focused on mental health, urgent dental care and also palliative care. We will be developing an integrated urgent care model, 24/7, which will incorporate NHS 111 Wales, urgent primary care centres, speciallty advice and guidance lines, out-of-hours primary care, and minor injuries units.

"We'll be safely reducing 999 ambulance conveyances to emergency departments. We will be increasing the volumes of patients who access same-day emergency care services and are discharged home on the same day. And we will be reducing the volumes of patients who experience a length of stay over seven days, and those who remain in hospital for over 21 days.

"Health boards will continue to receive nearly £20 million in additional funding to support the delivery of these priorities, and £5 million will be used to develop new tools, nationally commissioned pilots and tests of change to enable accelerated progress. In year 2, I expect national and programme plans to have more impact on the outcomes and experiences of those people who use the NHS here in Wales. Thank you."