HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD has had a funding boost of £286,440 and a share of central funding to improve primary care services in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The funding is part of a £3.5 million package for health boards across Wales, the Health Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Monday (Nov 3). Providing eye care services closer to people’s homes; preventing premature deaths from cardiovascular disease; developing the skills of the primary care providers; and reducing health inequalities though community action in our most deprived communities are to benefit from the funding.
The funding is being made available in 2014-15 from central Welsh Government funds. Following a round of spending proposals from all the health boards in Wales the Minister has approved schemes including of the use of £2 million to improve and develop the skills of NHS primary staff.
These include medicine management, developing GP skills in cardiology, dermatology and palliative care, nurse led phlebotomy, pharmacists support for nurses and GPs, advanced nurse practice, improving access to primary care and pulmonary disease, including bronchitis and emphysema, rehabilitation in community settings closer to people’s homes.
The Minister has also agreed supports for more local eye care services, with £600,000 going to the seven health boards to provide an additional 7,274 eye appointments including cataracts, glaucoma and agerelated macular degeneration. One of the wider benefits of providing these services locally will be to free up hospital appointments. In Hywel Dda, £206,000 is being provided for education and training and £80,440 to provide 624 optometrist-led triage appointments to reduce demand for new ophthalmology referrals and post-op appointments.
Advance Practice Training will get £300,000 to develop a multidisciplinary primary care workforce, which makes more effective use of GPs’ time and expertise. The funding will help train more advanced nurses, therapists and clinical pharmacists to work in primary care to support GPs. Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “These schemes will improve the quality of service provided by GPs, nurses, pharmacists and therapists to patients. Improving local, targeted services will help reduce the inequalities in health and tackle poverty, both of which are key Welsh Government priorities and are linked to poor health.
By providing a ‘closer to home’ health service which is better integrated with social care and has close links with services provided by the third and independent sectors we will reduce inequalities in health. This funding will help to create a strong, highly-trained primary care workforce, which can deliver a widerange of services in local communities, reducing our dependence on hospitalbased care. It will also see more follow-up eye appointments provided closer to patients’ homes instead of in a hospital setting.”