It has never been more important

to help people live a healthier lifestyle and in doing so reduce avoidable illness and unnecessary hospital admission. Caring for people effectively means our society is healthier and happier and inequalities are greatly reduced. The Royal College of Nursing believes that nursing should be at the heart of minimising the impact of illness, promoting health and helping people to function at home, work and leisure.

Did you know?

In 2019 only 47% of women in Wales report having been active for at least 150 minutes in the previous week. 38% of women were inactive (active for less than 30 minutes the previous week).

Physical health

Physical activity is an essential part of healthy living. It reduces the risk of many diseases, reduces the risk of obesity and improves mental wellbeing.

ACTION – Promote and Invest physical activity schemes, such as the National Exercise Referral Scheme, bike ‘hire’ and walk/cycle to work schemes. Fund initiatives aimed at increasing participation of women, older people and BAME groups.

Sexual health

Good sexual health is part of a healthy and fulfilling life. Sexual health services provide information and advice related to healthy sexuality, contraception, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and termination of pregnancy. Accessing sexual health services is not only about the geographical availability, it includes ensuring people can access the right type of service at the right time. Video conferencing may be ideal for example for those who are less mobile or are anxious about confidentiality.

ACTION – Make it a statutory requirement for schools to deliver sexual health education via health professionals specifically educated in providing sexual health education and ensure investment in sexual health services by Health Boards.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a tragic loss of life and changed how we live and work permanently. Nurses and nursing staff in care homes, hospices, the community and hospitals have been working long hours under great stress and risking their own health to protect others.

There are many actions we can all take such as washing our hands frequently and maintaining social distancing that will help reduce the risk of widespread community transmission. The next Welsh Government must also work to ensure that our care services are prepared and resilient:

Action – Support and invest in maintaining a comprehensive test track and trace programme and support a vaccination programme at the appropriate time. Invest in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement and storage in Wales.

Access to healthcare

Improving access to healthcare services is an important way of tackling health inequalities. Often those who need healthcare the most are those least able to access it.

Our healthcare services need access to modern technology. If consultant or specialist appointments could be done by video for example it would significantly improve access for people in rural areas to healthcare. Public access to broadband is also vital. Only 29 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses were able to access an ultrafast fixed broadband speed in September 2018. This is significantly lower than the UK rate of 49 per cent.

Public transport needs investment to improve access to healthcare. The frequency of services and their cleanliness is often an issue. There are also huge problems with public transport not being accessible to older people or those with mobility difficulties or for those escorting children on pushchairs – the two groups most like to need to use public transport!

Did you know?

Across Wales’ local authorities, average download speeds ranged from 24.5 Mbit/s in Powys to 61.0 Mbit/s in Cardiff.

Did you know?

In Mid Wales there are over 48,000 registered patients that would have to travel more than thirty minutes to attend a GP appointment and return home.

ACTION – Expand access to public broadband and invest in communications technology for healthcare services. Improve access, frequency and cleanliness of public transport.

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