The Health Minister has said that the challenges facing Wales’ NHS and social care services will be “even greater” during the winter than the first wave of the pandemic.
Vaughan Gething has today (15 September) set-out the preparations being made by health and social care services in Wales for the challenges they face this winter.
The Winter Protection Plan sets out how services will deal with the added challenge of Covid-19 to what is already a very busy time for health and social care.
“We all know that winter is always a challenging time of the year for our health and social care services,” the Health Minister said.
“Let me be clear, the challenges this winter will be even greater, given the need to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and the resurgence of the virus over recent weeks.
“The next days and weeks will determine whether we have to move to introduce more significant measures to control the virus.
“We must be prepared for the worst and the Winter Protection Plan sets out actions that are being taken in readiness across the health and social services. The plan highlights a number of now familiar areas, but also ones that are crucial to controlling the virus.
“It is supported by the £800m NHS stabilisation package that was announced recently along with the additional funding being provided to Local Authorities and the care sector.”
Increasing bed capacity, increased testing capacity, new ways of delivering services, use of technology and an expanded flu vaccination programme are all key elements in protecting the public from coronavirus, the Health Minister said.
Pharmacies, NHS Direct, opticians, dentists, Minor Injury Units, health visitors, community nurses, midwives and GP practices, would all provide advice and treatment.
“We can do all we can to ensure our frontline health and social care services are prepared for the winter but we also need the co-operation of the public to stop the spread of the virus and protect our most vulnerable,” he said.
“Making the right choice not only helps you get the right care quickly but it also helps save the time of NHS staff, who will be working hard than ever this winter.
“For serious and life-threatening emergencies call 999 or go to A&E. But if not, remember the other places where you can get advice and treatment.”
The Winter Protection Plan 2020/21 can be found here.