The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 



Health and Social Care

The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Health list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007-2009

bullet Published a Rural Health Plan for consultation focusing on how services can be delivered locally for the benefit of patients. (May 2009).
bullet Developed plans to trial new measures to help protect NHS staff from violence and aggression and to provide more evidence to prosecute offenders when incidents take place. (April 2009).
bullet Launched a consultation on plans to strengthen lymphoedema services in Wales. (April 2009).
bullet Published a distinctive action plan to identify people at risk of blood borne viral hepatitis and to improve care for people living with the infection. (April 2009).
bullet Moved to establish a new National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NISCHR). (March 2009).
bullet Launched a consultation on a plan to strengthen community health services to support the care of individuals in, or close to, their own homes. (March 2009).
bullet Worked to develop Our Healthy Future, a Strategic Framework for Public Health in Wales. (March 2009).
bullet Announced that patients in Wales needing kidney cancer drugs that were yet to be approved by NICE, the independent organisation set up to appraise new medicines, would receive them on the NHS in the meantime. (January 2009).
bullet Completed the consultation on the Consultation for children and young people on the development of the family nurse service for Wales. (January 2009).
bullet Announced that private dental practice in Wales would be regulated more closely to ensure safer, higher quality services. (December 2008).
bullet Received the green light to introduce new legislation in relation to safeguarding and promoting the well-being of all children and young people in Wales. Royal Approval for the Vulnerable Children’s Legislative Competence Order (LCO) meant that the Welsh Assembly Government could bring forward Assembly Measures covering children and young people. (December 2008).
bullet Sought powers to provide more support for unpaid carers. (December 2008).
bullet Launched a consultation to explore how care should be best paid for across Wales in the future. (November 2008).
bullet Published an action plan to reduce suicide and self-harm in Wales. (November 2008).
bullet Launched a new guide to encourage mental health service users and their carers to have a greater role in the planning, development and delivery of mental health services. (October 2008).
bullet Published a 10 year plan to reduce the harm caused by drugs and alcohol. (October 2008).
bullet Announced that a group of health professionals and experts would oversee the development of a national dementia plan for Wales. (October 2008).
bullet Announced the setting up of an expert group to consider use of drugs on the NHS not approved by NICE. (September 2009).
bullet Announced that an expert group would look at the issues around funding drugs on the NHS that are not approved by NICE. The group would report on its findings and recommendations in the New Year. (September 2008).
bullet Announced a series of debates to gather public opinion on whether Wales should become the first UK country to introduce a system of presumed consent to increase the number of organ donors. (September 2008).
bullet Announced that all 12 and 13-year-old girls (school year 8) in Wales were to be vaccinated against the Human papillomavirus (HPV) from the following autumn. (September 2008).
bullet Unveiled plans, it was claimed,  to simplify the NHS structure in Wales and meet the Welsh Assembly Government’s One Wales commitment to end the internal market. (July 2008).
bullet Announced more than £100million investment in new buildings and equipment to mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS.  It was noted that we can be proud in Wales that the founding principles that Bevan established are as dear today as they were in 1948 indicating a particular Welsh emphasis. (July 2008).
bullet Launched a distinctive initiative to encourage more volunteers in healthcare and to foster closer links between local communities and hospitals.  (June 2008).
bullet Announced a package of measures to improve hospital cleanliness and give nurses greater power on hospital wards. (June 2008).
bullet Announced that an independent panel made up of members of the general public would be set up to decide which specialist treatments will be provided by the NHS. (June 2008).
bullet Launched a pioneering campaign aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in Wales. (May 2008).
bullet Announced wide-ranging efforts to tackle autism and improve services for those who are affected by the condition. Wales is the first country in the world to have established a cross-cutting national strategic action plan for ASD that will help the estimated 30,000 people that are either directly or indirectly affected by Autism in Wales. (May 2008).
bullet As the smoking ban entered its second year, it was announced that public support for the legislation had increased, with 84 percent of adults in Wales supporting smoke-free public places compared to 71 percent prior to the ban.  (April 2008).
bullet Saw the start of free parking for patients, staff and visitors at the majority of NHS hospitals in Wales as well as the first anniversary of free prescriptions for all.  Wales is the only UK country to implement the reforms. (April 2008).
bullet Announced that vending machines dispensing crisps, chocolate and sugary drinks were to be removed from all NHS hospitals in Wales. (March 2008).
bullet Announced plans to improve care for the thousands of people in Wales living with epilepsy. It was the first time such a plan has been outlined in any UK country. Each Local Health Board will is required to develop a local action plan for epilepsy and ensure that multi-disciplinary teams are in place.  (February 2008).
bullet Highlighted a distinctive service framework to guide the delivery of treatment to people who have both mental health and substance misuse problems. (September 07).

Second Assembly 2003 - 07

bullet Put out the Mental Health Promotion Action Plan for Wales: Consultation Document out for consultation. (October 2006).
bullet Published Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities. The draft Strategy set out the important role that Social Services play in their wide ranging work with vulnerable people and proposed a vision for the following 10 years of how social services and social care would contribute to a better Wales. (August 2006).
bullet Announced a £76m package to support older people, disabled people and their carers. The package, which included measures to improve services and reduce the impact of charging for them, came on top of a £45m increase for adult social services in 2006/07. (February 2006).
bullet Announced that the aim of the Wales Eye Care Initiative was to “preserve sight through the early detection of eye disease and to give help to those who have low vision and whose sight is unlikely to improve”. (March 2006).
bullet Wales became the first UK country to publish diagnostic and therapy waiting times. (February 2006).
bullet Officially opened the North Wales Clinical School. The new facilities, funded by £3.5million from the Welsh Assembly Government, included new teaching and research rooms, a clinical skills suite, an extension to the library and a common room for students. (February 2006).
bullet Outlined the success of the pilot Personal Dental Services schemes which had secured NHS provision for over 340,000 patients and provided access for 77,000 new patients. (January 2006).
bullet Supported the introduction of independent prescribing for pharmacists and nurses in Wales. (January 2006).
bullet Announced that Wales was on the way to creating smoke-free enclosed public places as the UK Health Bill was published. The publication of the Bill meant Wales  another step closer to receiving the powers it needs to implement an outright ban on smoking in enclosed public places. (October 2005).
bullet Announced plans to abolish care standards fees. (October 2005).
bullet Launched a campaign to raise awareness of sexually transmitted infections. The campaign, which coincides with Sexual Health Week, aims to build on the success that has led to a reduction in many of the common infections in Wales. (August 2005).
bullet Announced that only patients using the welsh prescriptions, issued by welsh practices will be able to benefit from reduced prescription charges in Wales. The measures will overcome concerns raised that the reduced prescription charges in Wales could attract 'health tourists' coming to benefit from the lower charges. (August 2005).
bullet Launched Designed for Life - a 10 year strategy for health and social care in Wales. (May 2005).
bullet Launched a high-profile campaign to promote mothers' milk as the best start for babies -"Babies all over Wales love their mothers' milk". (May 2005).
bullet A new research and development strategy for Wales was set to reinforce Wales’ position as a leader in UK-wide research initiatives. The Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care (WORD) launched an event in Cardiff to promote its new work programme – Shaping the Future. (April 2005).
bullet Establishment of the Wales Centre for Health (2005).
bullet Announced that all Welsh Assembly Government estate will be smoke-free from July 2005. (March 2005).
bullet Welcomed the inauguration of the Graduate Entry programme for a medical degree at Swansea Clinical School. The intensive four-year course, unique in Wales, is run in collaboration with Cardiff University and is set to create more doctors in Wales. (February 2005).
bullet Established the Accessible Venues Programme for Wales Working Group to promote good practice amongst organisations that organise public events and to develop an action programme that ensured the Welsh Assembly used accessible venues for all public meetings. (January 2005).
bullet Welcomed the launch of the Wales Cancer Institute. (January 2005).
bullet Opened the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexham. The Clinical School is part of Cardiff University, Wales College of Medicine. The new facility will increase the number of training places for health professionals. (January 2005).
bullet Prescription charges in Wales fell by £1 to £5 in September 2004. In England prescriptions cost £6.40.
bullet Won funding worth €331,129 (£221,000). from Europe to co-ordinate a Europe-wide adolescent smoking cessation programme. (May 2004).
bullet Noted that the new Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) had become operational. (April 2004).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government and BBC Wales joined forces for a social action campaign to encourage people to lose weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising more. (March 2004).
bullet National minimum standards for small care homes for the elderly were relaxed following extensive public consultation. (March 2004).
bullet Arts venues across Wales were encouraged to become smoke-free to help improve our health and enjoyment. (March 2004).
bullet Announced that from April 2005 all couples aged 23 – 39 in Wales who meet the clinical criteria established by NICE and any social criteria to be established by the Welsh Assembly Government, should be offered one cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS. (February 2004).
bullet Announced  Health Challenge Wales as a call to everyone to do as much as they can to improve health. (February 2004).
bullet Decided to use its £22million windfall from Gordon Brown in the way the Assembly wanted to spend it and not to follow his practice in England and put it into local government for the reduction of their council tax bills. The money was spent on renal services and bed blocking issues. (January 2004).
bullet Announced that a new task group is to be set up to drive forward the Assembly Government’s Childcare Action Plan. (December 2003).
bullet Hailed the first year of the digital hearing aid scheme, launched in August 2002, a success as figures showed that nearly 15,000 digital hearing aids had been fitted across Wales. (July 2003).
bullet Launched the Healthy and Active Lifestyles Action Plan. (July 2003).
bullet Launched  the Food and Fitness Health Promotion Grant Scheme. The Food and Fitness Health Promotion Grant Scheme provided funding for community projects that encourage more active lifestyles and/or healthier eating within priority groups. The main target of the scheme is people within socially disadvantaged groups, with particular emphasis on children and young people, and older people. (July 2003).

First Assembly 1999 - 03

bullet Secured, through the Care Standards Bill, an independent Commission for Care Standards for Wales as an executive arm of the Assembly.
bullet Moved to change the structure of the NHS in Wales by scrapping the Health Authorities from 2003.
bullet Powers to conduct covert surveillance activities to assist in the protection of children and vulnerable adults and to counter fraud in the NHS were proposed to be granted to the National Assembly for Wales and the NHS in Wales in a draft Order laid today before Parliament by the Home Secretary under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. (September 2003).
bullet Announced that Wales’ Epilepsy Strategy would present an unique way forward. (July 2003).
bullet Developed 'Well Being in Wales' (2002) which reinforced joint action across policy areas to improve health and to reduce health inequalities.

Announced a distinctive future for primary care in Wales. Three new strategies which set out how key primary care services would change, improve and modernise over a ten year period, were published. The strategies for dentistry, optometry and pharmacy set out the future development of the services. (September 2002).

bullet Announced a distinctive strategic framework for palliative care services across Wales. (July 2002).
bullet Created a six-week free home care package for vulnerable people leaving hospital. (February 2002).
bullet Extended free eye checks in the 2000-01 budget for at risk groups: black Africans; black Caribbeans; Indians; Pakistanis and Bangladeshis; those who have sight in only one eye, those who have severe hearing difficulty and those who have retinitis pigmentosa and their relatives.
bullet Introduced a Care Council for Wales to regulate the social care workforce. (October 2001).
bullet Froze prescription charges in 2001.
bullet Developed an annual 'Keep Well This Winter' programme to help older people look after their health. (October 2001).
bullet Launched Wales' first strategy for education for nursing, midwifery and health. (March 2001).
bullet Appointed the independent chair of the National Steering Group which oversaw the review of the arrangements for allocating financial resources to the NHS in Wales. The Steering Group had cross-party representation and included senior Assembly officials and representatives of the NHS. (March 2000).
bullet Announced distinctive proposals to improve arrangements for young people in care and leaving care. (July 1999).