The Chief Executive of the NHS in Wales believes that steady and sustained improvement is being made in the nation, according to a new report.
Dr Andrew Goodall launched the Annual Quality Statement for NHS Wales with a positive message on progress in the healthcare system.
This latest tome is intended to outline some of the improvements and innovations made in the health service over the last 12 months, but also outline potential areas for improvement.
A new form of plastic surgery for lymphoedema patients was particularly documented by the report as a major and valuable new innovation.
This new form of surgery means that patients do not require compression garments, not only providing convenience for NHS consumers, but also saving the health service money.
The procedure has been provided by the Health Technologies Fund of the Welsh government, and thus is only available within Wales, not England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
In other areas, more than 150 new staff members have been recruited and new services have been created for Children and Adolescent Mental Health services in Wales.
And new crisis intervention teams are caring for 15 to 24-year-olds experiencing severe mental illness.
Commenting on the achievements in the Welsh healthcare system, Goodall reflected on what he deemed to be a positive year.
“We have seen several years of sustained improvement in diabetes outcomes for children and young people. Cancer survival rates continue to improve despite increasing numbers of people requiring treatment.”
While NHS trusts have floundered against waiting times throughout the United Kingdom, Goodall believes that Wales has performed more than adequately in some areas.
“Waiting times to access diagnostic services continue to fall and we have seen a steady decline in people experiencing delays in their hospital discharge thanks to improved links between hospitals and social care. Our new clinical response model has vastly improved ambulance response times and has attracted interest from across the UK and the world.”
The author of the report was also keen to acknowledge the contribution made by healthcare professionals in Wales.
“Passionate and committed NHS staff are leading improvements in the healthcare services across Wales, services used by thousands of people every week; the Annual Quantity Statement takes a look at just some of these improvements, but also looks at what we need to do next.”
But Goodall also believes that there is still room for improvement, and encouraged Welsh NHS staff to build on the progress made over the last 12 months.
“I want to challenge the NHS to keep on improving; to work to provide care that is truly centred on the individual patients, and to ensure health and care are delivered to the same high standards consistently across Wales.”
In the course of compiling the report, it became apparent that the Welsh healthcare system deals with one-million accident and emergency attendees, 750,000 hospital admissions and 450,000 ambulance calls annually.