Prudent healthcare can help NHS Wales to recover and reset from the coronavirus pandemic


Bevan Commissioner Professor Don Berwick believes the principles of prudent healthcare provide the way for health and care in Wales to recover from and reset after the coronavirus pandemic.

The concept of prudent healthcare was developed by Wales’ leading health and care think tank the Bevan Commission and underpins all of its work.

It provides a strong ethical tool to protect and maintain the health and wellbeing of the population in the fairest and most prudent way possible.

Professor Berwick, President Emeritus of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in the USA said, “I think the prudent healthcare framework is one of the most powerful and capacious guides for healthcare reform that I have seen in decades of work on healthcare improvement.

“The coronavirus pandemic has hit us all hard and when you are feeling lost you look for a map and I think that the prudent principles are that map. It’s simple and it’s full of space for adaptation and innovation at every level from national to local, even to individual care.

“You will find no better framework for the changes that will get us through this awful time and make the future even better than the past ever was.”

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Prudent healthcare is based on four key principles:

Professor Berwick said that if each of the principles were applied consistently across health and care, Wales could find a way forward in overcoming the tough challenges ahead, including the rise in waiting lists, and deliver innovative and sustainable services.

In an interview which can be viewed here, he said, “Ending this pandemic cannot be done by the NHS alone or the public alone. Everyone needs to play their part and that can only be done by co-production.

“Covid 19 has shown too that we have to protect those who it harms first, it forces our attention to the most vulnerable. It also demands evidence based care.

“Resources are being stretched to breaking point and this is the moment that healthcare and the public must ask about what truly adds value to our health and lives, and what does not.

“Prudent healthcare is not just a clever slogan, it’s a guide book to success and everyone has the opportunity to take these four strong pillars and build under them to meet local need.”

The principles of prudent healthcare were launched in 2015. It is at the heart of Welsh Government’s key policy A Healthier Wales, and should continue to be developed even further.

Prudent healthcare is also being applied in action by the Bevan Exemplars, health and care professionals from across Wales who trial and test out their own innovative ideas to deliver prudent healthcare on the front line of the NHS.

Bevan Commission Director Helen Howson said, “Don’s expertise and insight reinforces how prudent healthcare is more relevant than ever during the pandemic.

“Its four principles provide a strong guiding tool to help ensure we work with people and professionals to make best use of resources available to us whilst ensuring those in greatest need are prioritised, whilst consistently and transparently using evidence.

“Prudent healthcare will help health and care to build back better. Its robust framework, underpinning future planning, will ensure we deliver sustainable services and support for people across Wales.”