Your local health and care services – get involved in the conversation


(Dawn on a previous visit to the Integrated Health and Social Care centre in Rhymney with Cabinet Secretary Vaughan Gething).


Dawn Bowden AM says

“We rightly celebrate 70 years of our great – made in Wales – NHS, Labour’s greatest achievement.

Yet as we consider the data and the background evidence about “Your local health and care services” we can see many challenges.

How do we now move on from this time of celebration in order to meet these challenges for the people of the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency?

As your Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney I want to learn more about “Your local health and care services”.

The work I will undertake over the Summer and Autumn is in three parts:





In my previous residents survey you told me the NHS was your number one priority. So I now wish to drill down deeper and learn more.

As a start we can look at all the data about the health of local people. Some of it is worrying in terms of ill health, problems around obesity and on smoking and alcohol consumption


Today (20.07.18) I release the “Context” paper which explains the conditions that we face in delivering health and social care in our area. Find a copy here:

Context Paper

Communities across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney suffer higher levels of deprivation than the Welsh average, and are in considerably worse health than other areas, or indeed the Wales average. These problems then show in terms of life expectancy etc for the constituency.

So in looking at the “Big picture” summarised in the “Context” paper is there any aspect of the evidence I have misunderstood, or other evidence you want me to consider?


The next satge will be to publish a “Challenge” paper. I believe the challenges facing health and social care are well understood. There has recently been a Parliamentary Review and as a result a new national strategy has been published – “A Healthier Wales”.

The review recognised that services are under great pressure due to:

  • Increased demand,
  • More complex demand,
  • Demography and lifestyle factors,
  • Advances in medicine and technology,
  • Workforce, training and development issues.

This is also true for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

Yet we know that change has been slow in relation to some previous and similar recommendations.

Underpinning the new national strategy is:

  • the holistic approach to wellbeing – this cannot be just about the NHS and hospitals – need to shift from an ill-health to a wellbeing service,
  • so we need action in housing, healthy schools, economic contract with employers, leisure, caring and wrap around services, and so on,
  • at the core of this work must be a stronger shift from hospital to having services closer to home – this is where primary care services and clusters become ever more important in providing “seamless local health and social care”,
  • The vision says it will “deliver the same high quality of care, and achieve more equal outcomes, for everyone in Wales. It will improve the physical and mental well-being of all.

These points seem really important to me given the ‘context’ we have discussed for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

The new plans identifies new leadership and has set up a Transformational Fund to achieve this.

  • So the challenge is:
  • Promoting Wellbeing,
  • A priority on Prevention,
  • Moving to Early intervention,
  • Using technology to support services,

Making health and care sustainable.


I look forwards to our conversation about the context and the challenges ahead.

Look out for the online survey and give me your views.

If you prefer just to write in then the address is 110 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8AP.


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