Welsh Labour have today unveiled plans to pump-prime projects across Wales to help people improve their health and wellbeing using an innovative Wales Wellbeing Bond.
Announcing the plan, Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the Wales Wellbeing Bond will play a valuable role in helping to prevent the causes of some of the most common long-term conditions affecting people in Wales and help to reduce pressure on NHS services.
It will see the third sector work closely with mainstream public services to design and deliver new services to help improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Welsh Labour Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, said:
“The NHS does a fantastic job treating people’s illnesses and injuries every single day – it is a truly life-saving service. But we know it is under pressure as a result of underlying levels of ill health in our population – a third of people say their daily life is limited as the result of ill health or disability.
“If we want our NHS to be there for us in the future, we all need to help the health service today by doing more to look after own health.
“The Wales Wellbeing Bond will provide the upfront funding to set up new community services and projects to help people do just that.
“Together we can all take those small steps to be a little more active or to eat more healthily and together we can work to make Wales a healthier nation.”
The Wales Wellbeing Bond will be funded by the Welsh Government and from Wales’ share of the UK sugar levy, which will be levied by the UK Government on manufacturers of sugary drinks in 2017. The bond will enable the NHS, local authorities and the third sector to invest in schemes which improve people’s health and wellbeing. It builds on the work of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action which has provided a wellbeing bond for Valleys Steps in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf. It was set up to combat high anti-depressant prescribing rates in the Cwm Taf University Health Board area.
Valley Steps delivers mindfulness and stress control courses as an alternative to anti-depressant prescribing. It also provides internet-based information about the causes of stress, anxiety and common emotional and mental health difficulties.
WCVA provided a loan to Valleys Steps, which has a contract with Cwm Taf University Health Board. If the new interventions lead to a reduction in anti-depressant spending, the health board will share the savings with Valleys Steps, enabling it to repay the loan. This, in turn, can be used by the WCVA to reinvest in different social activities.