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Embedding prevention in primary care ‘can increase resilience’

Embedding prevention in primary care ‘can increase resilience’

Embedding prevention and public health approaches can support primary and community care, according to a new report published by Public Health Wales.

The report – Embedding Prevention in Primary and Community Care – said that cross-sector collaboration and integration can support the primary and community sector, including in areas such as health promotion, disease prevention and surveillance.

‘While primary and community care focuses on individuals, public health addresses the needs of the whole population, so integration is crucial,’ the report said.

‘Moving primary care into the community is an international priority as it can improve efficiency, whilst reducing or stabilising healthcare costs.’

The report identified solutions from countries such as Japan, Australia, Slovenia and New Zealand, including integrating digital systems and sharing data, and comprehensive assessment and analysis of populations health needs and assets. Other approaches included social prescribing, multi-professional practices, joint training and promoting primary and community care as an attractive career.

Last year, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales urged the Welsh Government to ensure that general practice nursing was seen as ‘an attractive career option’ for newly registered nurses, amid concerns over an ageing workforce.

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and the Strategic Programme for Primary Care (SPPC) consulted on ‘key actions’ to inform a new Strategic Workforce Plan for Primary Care in Wales, which shaped proposed draft actions that have been tested with stakeholders.

Pressures on primary and community care including ageing populations, workforce challenges and growing inequality are resulting in more examples of primary and community care models embedding preventative and public health approaches, the report said.

It listed seven core components of a successful integration strategy, including defined populations, aligned financial incentives, using data to improve quality, effective leadership, and patient and carer engagement.

Dr Mariana Dyakova, consultant in public health at Public Health Wales, said: ‘Primary and community care is a vital pillar of healthcare services which strengthens the resilience of health systems to prepare for, respond to and recover from shocks and crises.

‘As pressures on our health systems continue to rise, there is a clear need to embed prevention and public health within this, providing an integrated approach.’

The publication is the latest International Horizon Scanning and Learning report, which were initiated as part of the Covid-19 public health response. The scope of the reports was expanded in 2022 to cover priority public health topics, informing decision-making in Welsh Government, the NHS and Public Health Wales, and part of the latter’s approach to translating evidence into policy and practice.

The 2018 Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales outlined a preventative and person-centred vision for care. The response from Welsh Government set out in A Healthier Wales: our Plan for Health and Social Care in 2022 called for new models of health and social care at local and regional level.


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