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Digital and data at the heart of new Primary Care Strategy

February 15th 2024

An ambitious new Primary Care Strategy from Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) outlines the steps it will take to support the delivery of digital transformation across primary care services in Wales.

Making the best of data and digital technologies in the design and delivery of systems and services is at the heart of the new strategy. Providing clinical and administrative staff with the right tools and training will enable them to feel confident using digital and data. Improved efficiency and better access to information will enhance the safety and quality of patient care and enable staff to make informed decisions.

DHCW’s Primary Care Services team developed the 2024-2027 strategy. It follows engagement with stakeholders including Welsh Government, professional bodies, clinicians and patient groups. The strategy applies to primary care services such as GP practices, community pharmacies, dentistry, optometry and prisons. There’s potential to extend the aims and principles within the strategy to community and mental health service provision as discovery work in this area progresses.

The strategy acknowledges the importance of the public feeling confident and supported in using digital tools such as the NHS Wales App. This will enable them to take a more active role in their own health and wellbeing. Clinical professionals will play a crucial role in building public confidence, through demonstrating their own confidence with the technology.

The document outlines how the directorate can add wider value to the health and care sector, becoming an intrinsic part of the healthcare system. This shift will be enabled by evolving from a delivery organisation to one that provides an expert and objective voice across the primary care landscape. It would require involvement in everything from policy development to successful change on the ground.

Sam Hall, DHCW’s Director of Primary, Community Care and Mental Health Digital Services, said: “The outcomes from this ambitious Primary Care Strategy will improve the care and wellbeing of people in Wales. It puts people at the centre of all we do. It shows our deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the primary care space across Wales and sets out how we will support the clinicians to deliver excellent care for the people in our communities.”

A strategic statement sets out the broad aims and role of the Directorate. It says: “A strategy supporting population health and care improvement in Primary, Community and Mental Health in Wales through the development of expert knowledge, information and resources that enables user centred design, interoperability, robust connectivity and security.”

Four operational principles and eight priority areas of delivery are set out in the strategy, each with projected outcomes and benefits. These all align with a move to a product-based approach and a focus on user-centred design.

You can read the strategy in the key documents section of our website.