Doctor, patient and MRI scanner Doctor, patient and MRI scanner

£1m funding boost for innovations in planned care

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£1m of new innovation funding is being made available to teams across the health and care sector in Wales to develop and test new and sustainable ways of delivering NHS planned care services that aim to address the growing treatment backlog and increasing patient waiting times.

The Planned Care Innovations Fund, which will be open to applications from 30 November, is based on the principles of the Bevan Commission’s Exemplar programme, and is set out to support innovation and adoption across Wales, maximising the momentum, enthusiasm and opportunity for change this presents.

The funding is part of today’s announcement from Health Minister Eluned Morgan of more than £170m extra a year to be invested in planned care across NHS Wales.

Pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic have added to the challenges faced across Wales to deliver planned (also known as elective) care services that balance capacity with demand, so patients can be seen quickly following referral. This investment in piloting transformative ways of delivering elective, planned care services across community, hospital and social care will help ensure they are appropriately integrated, sustainable and fit for the future.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “The impact of the pandemic on planned care has been significant, resulting in a massive backlog of patients waiting for planned treatments. There are, we fear, also many patients who are yet to present to primary care with their illness. We need a whole system approach to how care is delivered and by investing £248m in Covid recovery, £170m in planned care and £42million in social care, we hope to put NHS Wales in a stronger position for future generations.

“We are calling for health boards to radically transform how planned care is delivered, as we want to not just recover from the pandemic, but to build a planned care system that is bigger, better and more effective than we have seen before.”

Eluned Morgan, Health Minister

Welcoming the innovation funding, Bevan Commission Director Helen Howson said: “Fixing record waiting times is the biggest challenge facing the NHS since its creation by Aneurin Bevan following World War II. The disruption we’re seeing from the Covid-19 pandemic will force the NHS to address problems that existed before the pandemic, and while this new funding will provide a welcome boost to the transformation that’s needed to tackle this issue, creating and embedding a culture of continuous improvement in health and care is the only way to ensure our services are resilient and fit for the future.”

The Planned Care Innovations Programme will fund and support new prudent ideas that:

Delivered throughout 2022, this programme will support projects that align with the Welsh Government’s strategy for planned care in Wales and fit into one of these broad themes: effective referrals; advice and guidance; treat accordingly; follow up prudently; measure what’s appropriate.

Applications will be welcomed from across the broad spectrum of planned care services, including non-NHS organisations, with projects particularly encouraged that look to develop integrated approaches in a cross-organisational, multi-disciplinary or multisectoral manner.