Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences is a key part of the ARCH Programme. The college is represented on all of the ARCH working groups underpinning the ARCH developments.
The college is one of the largest providers of non-medical health professions education in Wales, as well as a provider of social work qualifications, a psychology department with close working relationships with both health boards, an ethics group and research centres in Ageing and Health Economics. This means the college is a major player in the Skills and Workforce Development arm of ARCH.
The college's mission is to conduct high quality international research that meets the needs of the people of South West Wales and beyond. The college is the largest provider of health care education in Wales, providing an exciting and dynamic environment in which to study and further an academic or professional career.
The college, through ARCH, is also opening a Health & Wellbeing Academy in the autumn.
Based at the Singleton Health Campus it will offer services such as audiology, maternal family health and wellbeing services, osteoporosis and osteopathy clinics, psychological therapies, memory clinic and dementia support services as well as general health screening and cardiac and respiratory assessments.
Professor Ceri Phillips, Head of the college and ARCH Programme board member, says the innovative academy concept encapsulates everything ARCH aims to achieve in terms of transforming the way the NHS delivers care, bringing that care closer to people’s homes and developing the next generation of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.
Professor Phillips said: “We are delighted to announce the creation of a new Health and Wellbeing Academy as part of ARCH. The Academy aims to ease pressure on the health service, particularly for our GPs and A&E departments
“It is a unique approach aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the people living across the ARCH region through a range of treatments and alternative ways for patients to manage their care.
“We also want to help improve care for patients who face delays in diagnosis and assessments by providing alternative options.”
Professor Phillips said that although the Academy could not directly influence current staffing shortages in the NHS it would help reduce demand on an already stretched workforce.He said: “Our intention is to assist primary care by taking referrals for assessment.
“One of the indicators of success of the Academy will be the number of patients diverted from entering secondary care and receiving effective community-based care instead – possibly within the Academy itself – but ideally closer to their own homes.
“This reduction in demand will help take pressure off the stretched workforce in secondary care and offer alternatives to GPs when managing patients with more complex health needs.
“We want people to be able to access services based on informed choice, prevention, diagnosis and self-care rather than heading straight to their GP or A&E departments for issues which could be resolved in another way.
“We also want to enrich the experience of our students, the Academy will help provide new opportunities for student placements and interactions with patients which will form part of their education.”
Professor Phillips added that the Academy concept was not limited to Swansea patients and said there was an opportunity to develop and provide similar services which complement existing service provision, across the entire South West Wales region.He said: “The Wellness & Life Science Village project in Llanelli is proof that ARCH is working with a regional view in mind.
“The College is working alongside Carmarthenshire Council and the health boards to ensure a similar model is available to people living in the Hywel Dda area.”
“GPs can refer patients to the Academy for detailed assessments which will speed up the process for patients and avoiding the need for unnecessary additional GP consultations.
“When patients self-refer to the Academy for assessments and diagnostics they will be armed with a detailed personalised report which can then be used by their GP if necessary.”
Professor Phillips added: “We all realise it’s time to re-think the healthcare system. There is a need to rebalance the traditional approach of only treating ill health reactively and start focusing on lifelong lifestyle changes and prevention rather than cure.”