Expert View: ABMU Medical Director Hamish Laing

Health and ARCH

The success of the NHS over the years means that there are many more older citizens in South West Wales who are frail or living with several long term illnesses such as Mental Health problems, Diabetes, heart conditions, cancer and arthritis.  Dementia is also much more common, with all the challenges that has for families and the Health and Care services.

We think that in future there is a better way to provide the care patients and service users need. This means avoiding some health problems in the first place with more emphasis on personal wellbeing; making sure that there is good help for those with long-term conditions to manage themselves better and providing as much care as possible in people’s homes and communities.  To do that our GPs and community health and care teams need better technology to support them and so do the patients themselves.

Of course there will always need to be hospitals and we want these to have the best facilities and right staff so if you need to go to hospital, you get cared for quickly and well and discharged home again as soon as possible. But we also want hospital teams to look after people without them always having to come to the hospital.

Both Health Boards already have exciting plans for these changes. ABMU has an ambitious programme called Changing for the Better and Hwyel Dda has Our Health, Our Future.  ARCH builds on these and will help us do all of the things we have said we want to do. By working together we can do them faster and at greater scale. 

But, there is more to it than that! All of the partners in ARCH want to tackle the things that can lead to poor health in the first place. We want to help young people to have a healthy start to life, make good lifestyle choices as they grow up, have better life opportunities and as they get older to remain well and independent for longer with help from their communities, supported by technology.

ARCH is an unique and bold commitment to make a real difference for the health and wellbeing of every citizen in South West Wales. We think it’s the way we can make sure we have health and care services we can all be proud of in the future.