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Senedd Election 2021 - Health Policy Manifesto Pledges

Naomi White
Naomi White

Our Monitoring and Research Officer, Naomi White, takes a look at what the three main parties are promising in aspects of health, including social care, mental health, cancer and the coronavirus.

Social Care and the Healthcare Workforce

Arguably one of the biggest pledges of the 2021 election, is Plaid Cymru’s pledge to Build a National Health and Care Service where personal care is free at the point of need. The party has explained this will be supported by the establishment of a Commission to explore funding options. Plaid have also promised to enhance care services by introducing a Right to Care Charter, plan recovery of routine care services, reform care assessment processes and invest in care in the community.

Welsh Labour has taken a different approach, committing to create a Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, launch a National Care Framework, strengthen partnerships and investment in integrated care to deliver better integrated care and health services. The party has pledged to provide free care at the point of need as well as Plaid Cymru but plans to pursue a sustainable UK solution to achieve this goal.

The Welsh Conservatives have pledged to appoint a Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, similarly, to Welsh Labour and have committed to establishing a £15m Care Innovation Fund to promote joint working between NHS and social care services.

All three parties have pledged to Introduce a Welsh Minimum Care Wage of £10 per hour as well as pledging to increase numbers of healthcare professionals within the NHS. The numbers and details are as follows:

  • Plaid Cymru: 6,000 extra healthcare professionals - 4,000 nurses, 1000 doctors and 1000 allied health professionals.
  • Welsh Conservatives: 1,200 more doctors, 3,000 more nurses and other professionals.
  • Welsh Labour: 12,000 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and psychologists.

Mental Health

All three parties have recognised the need to prioritse mental health investment, outlining the need for it to be an integral part of the health service, with Welsh Labour pointing out the need for mental health services to be prioritized in long-term covid-19 recovery and the Welsh Conservatives arguing that mental health should be placed on parity with physical health. All of the parties have committed to investment within schools to provide children with increased mental health support. Plaid Cymru has emphasized the need to include a focus on eating disorders within mental health provision and providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy more widely, as well as considering support for rural mental health charities. Welsh Labour have committed to continue a Whole School Approach to mental health for children and young people, to strengthen the Economic Contract so improved mental health at work is prioritized and to introduce an all-Wales framework to roll out social prescribing to tackle isolation. The Welsh Conservatives on the other hand, have committed to creating a mother and baby unit in North Wales for mums with severe post-natal mental health challenges, undertaking a review of mental health services through a Commission on Mental Health, introducing a new Mental Health Act, establishing and publish targets on waiting times for mental health treatment for key issues and creating a network of mental health crisis centres.

Cancer

Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives have made a number of key commitments in regard to cancer policy. Plaid Cymru have pledged to introduce a new cancer plan for Wales,prioritise the continued roll out of multidisciplinary diagnostic centres, expand screening programmes, ensure earlier treatment, explore options to participate in clinical trials to access new treatments and to ensure priority access to private sector technology such as the proton beam therapy centre in Newport. The Welsh Conservatives have pledged to expand the Access to Treatments Fund, deliver a new national delivery plan for cancer, establish a new cancer centre of excellence for South East Wales and to support patients undergoing cancer treatment by providing free dental care.

Coronavirus

All three parties have made a number of commitments to tackling the impacts of coronavirus. All three parties have pledged to ensure the supply of Personal Protective Equipment, with the Welsh Conservatives promising to create a Welsh Pandemic Network for the production of PPE and hand sanitiser. All three parties have stressed the need for recovery following the pandemic, with Plaid pledging to treat patients with Long Covid; support staff in dealing with ongoing stress; and prepare for possible future pandemic, as well as increasing the number of specialist Infection Prevention and Control Nurses. Welsh Labour has pledged to continue to deliver its NHS Wales Test Trace Protect Service, to fund NHS services to recover and provide delayed treatments as well as deliver its NHS Recovery Plan. The Welsh Conservatives have pledged to implement a roadmap to recovery with a clear timetable and ambitious vaccine targets for the full re-opening of the Welsh economy and society. The party has promised to establish a national vaccination reminder system, enhance Test, Track and Protect to meet demands to clamp down outbreaks, avoiding national lockdowns, hold a public inquiry into every aspect of the handling of Covid-19 in Wales, appoint a dedicated Covid-19 Recovery Minister, enhance asymptomatic testing for Covid-19 in schools and in businesses with 10 or more employees and establish clinics dedicated to treating long Covid.

For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.

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