WI in Wales to take action on health following 70th anniversary of the NHS

Leading think tank Bevan Commission is working with WI members to engage their support on prudent healthcare.

Women’s Institute (WI) members across Wales are being encouraged to take action for better health and care following the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

The WI, which celebrated its centenary in 2015, and is marking 100 years of WI Campaigns this month, has a long and proud history of campaigning, especially in health matters. Some of the WI’s most notable health campaigns include banning smoking in public places, destigmatising AIDS and increasing the number of midwives in the NHS.

Wales’ premier think tank for health and care, the Bevan Commission (supported and hosted by Swansea University School of Management), will work with WI members on how they can transform the future of the NHS by using services more prudently and acting as wellbeing champions in their workplaces and communities.

The 70th anniversary of the NHS took place earlier this year, but with limited resources and recruitment challenges, urgent action from patients, professionals and people is required to ensure it will remain sustainable for the future.

The Bevan Commission will provide conversation starters for WI groups including:

  • What are your alternatives to seeing your GP?

  • How do you feel about asking questions and asking for alternatives when you are with a healthcare professional?

  • Do you get involved in the design or delivery of your local health and care services?

A resource pack with in-depth information on using the NHS responsibly and taking action will be made available to WI members. The resource pack will also include inspirational case studies of people taking responsibility for good health and care across Wales, such as Solva Care and the Education Programme for Patients (EPP).

WI groups across Wales will start the Bevan Commission engagement programme in early 2019.

Mair Stephens, Chair of NFWI-Wales said: “Since its inception, health and wellbeing has been at the heart of the WI and a number of our current projects and campaigns have a focus on health. WI members are passionate about the NHS and, through this project, we hope to capture members’ experiences, knowledge and ideas around health and healthcare services to help ensure that we contribute to an NHS that is prudent and fit for our future generations.”

Helen Howson, Director of the Bevan Commission, said: “The Bevan Commission is passionate about ensuring that all people across Wales have their say on the NHS and also take responsibility for transforming its future. The Women’s Institute has demonstrated throughout its history that it can lead important social movements for change, and we hope this programme will encourage WI members across Wales to think differently about how they, and their families and friends can best use the NHS and how they can take action to prevent illness and improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.”

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