The Welsh Government is today announcing a £800m stabilisation package to help the Welsh NHS to continue to respond to the impact of Covid-19. This latest package takes the total amount of Welsh Government Covid-19 support for NHS organisations to more than £1.3bn.
We recognise the massive and unprecedented challenges the pandemic is having on our health service in Wales. The funding will support NHS organisations across Wales to prepare for the anticipated challenges that winter will bring – responding to a potential second wave of the virus, alongside normal winter pressures – whilst continuing to further increase access to essential services.
We are actively working with the health service in Wales to understand the pressures they are facing and to assist them with their planning. The stabilisation package will enable a strategic approach to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for both the health and social care sectors, so that an appropriate ‘buffer’ of supplies can be established to respond to any second wave of infections. It will also ensure that a reliable supply of PPE is available for primary care providers – including GPs, dentists and optometrists so that these health professionals have the protection they need to carry out their vital services.
With the real possibility for further peaks during the autumn and winter months this investment will ensure faster turnaround of test results to support contact tracing, so that Wales can respond rapidly to contain any spread of the virus. It will also ensure that health boards have sufficient capacity, both through existing hospital sites and access to field hospitals as a contingency, if needed. The funding package also includes our ambitious flu vaccination programme worth £11.7m announced on 24 July. This funding will ensure more people than ever benefit from the free flu vaccine programme in preparation for winter.
We are also continuing to work with local authorities to understand the considerable pressures they are facing and their priorities so that we can provide them with further support.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish Ministers to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns we would be happy to do so.