Chapter 1.
Health & Wellbeing

Welsh Labour’s Promise to Wales


  1. Establish a new medical school in North Wales to raise the numbers in medical training. We will increase training funding by 8% in 2021 and over the next five years we will train 12,000 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and psychologists. We will continue to fund the NHS bursary to support all those training to be a nurse or allied health professional.  
  2. Keep prescriptions free in Wales, unlike in England under the Tories, where each prescription item costs £9.15. We will also keep hospital car parking free in Wales.
  3. Continue to provide free PPE for health and care staff for as long as is needed to deal with the pandemic. We will continue to fund our very successful, publicly run, NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service. 
  4. Fund NHS services to recover and provide the delayed treatments people are waiting for. We will strengthen national leadership through a new National Executive to make our clinical services fully prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. 
  5. Prioritise investment in mental health services to help with long-term recovery from the pandemic. We will invest in our workforce, training people to provide early support with mental wellbeing and resilience. We will prioritise service redesign to improve prevention, tackle stigma and promote a no-wrong-door approach to mental health support for all.
  6. Ensure that the NHS continues to focus on end of life care and we will commit to review patient pathway planning and hospice funding.
  7. Invest in and roll-out new technology that supports fast and effective advice and treatments. We will introduce e-prescribing and support developments that enable accurate detection of disease through artificial intelligence. 
  1. Deliver better access to GP, dental and optometry services. We will continue to reform primary care, bringing together GP services with pharmacy, therapy, housing, social care, mental health, community and third sector partners to support people to stay well.
  2. Invest in a new generation of integrated health and social care centres across Wales. We will introduce an all-Wales framework to roll out social prescribing to tackle isolation. In partnership with our universities, we will fund three new Intensive Learning Academies to improve patient experiences and outcomes.
  3. Work with charities and clinicians to develop an HIV action plan for Wales and seek ways to encourage testing for HIV, reduce late diagnosis and advance the roll out of prevention drugs. We will work with partners to tackle the stigma experienced by those living with HIV.
  4. Build on the success of our Whole School Approach to mental health for children and young people by rolling out child and adolescent mental health services ‘in-reach’ in schools across Wales. We will support mental wellbeing across our communities working with arts, sports, and voluntary organisations.
  5. Introduce an autism statutory code of practice on the delivery of autism services. It will set out what health and other services need to consider when meeting the needs of autistic people and their carers. 

The coronavirus pandemic has placed extraordinary pressures on our NHS but it has also shown our health service at its best. It has highlighted the immense dedication, care and skill of the workforce – the heartbeat of our health and care services – and new ways of working and technology have been introduced almost overnight.

Welsh Labour has always been the party of the NHS; we have always invested in NHS services and healthcare professionals to provide high-quality care. We will continue to do so to create a 21st century NHS, which provides high-quality care as close to people’s homes as possible.  

We know people are worried about having their treatments delayed because of the pandemic. We will invest heavily in post-Covid recovery to respond to current need and tackle the backlog of postponed treatments and operations caused by the pandemic to make sure no one is left behind. 
Prevention and wellbeing must be at the heart of the way forward for our NHS as we move beyond the Covid crisis. Poverty, overcrowding, obesity, underlying health conditions or disability are all critical factors that have been exposed by the pandemic. We will create a fairer NHS, focusing on health inequalities and preventable harms.

We will deepen the integration of health and care services and extend the use of new technologies to engage with patients and carers. We will deliver high-quality health services which are close to people’s homes and support people to stay well and live well for longer. We believe healthcare should be as local as possible and always connected with other key partners - especially care providers, third sector, and local authority services, and delivered in the heart of our towns and communities.

We remain absolutely committed to a free NHS for Wales and it will be our top priority as we emerge from the pandemic. In taking the NHS forward for Wales we will build on the strong foundations and real achievements delivered by Labour over the last five years. 

What we did in government

  • For the last seven years we made annual increases in funding to support health education and training and we have now recruited record numbers of frontline doctors, nurses, and midwives. Overall, our NHS Wales workforce has grown by 11.8% over the last five years. This year, we have recruited 200 trainee GPs.
  • Welsh Labour ensured a £735 special bonus payment to our NHS staff to thank them for their extraordinary dedication during the pandemic.
  • We were the first country in Europe to put nurse staffing levels into law – making a real difference to patient outcomes and experience and quality of care.  
  • We are the first country in the UK to introduce a single cancer pathway, making sure everyone gets the best possible care and treatment. Cancer survival rates in Wales are increasing. 
  • Welsh Labour’s flagship £80m New Treatment Fund has made 232 new medicines available on the NHS within an average of 13 days.
  • We introduced Wales’ first ever gender identity service in 2019 providing vital help and support to people closer to home.
  • Wales is the first part of the UK to introduce special non-invasive tests for babies before they are born, helping to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
  • Child immunisation rates in Wales continue to be among the best in the world. The vast majority of children in Wales are protected against a wide range of life-threatening diseases before they start school.
  • Under Welsh Labour, ours was the first UK health service to commit to ending new cases of HIV by 2030. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is now available to prevent HIV infection in Wales and we have ended the so-called gay blood donation ban. 
  • Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic workers are disproportionately at risk from the virus and we quickly set up the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Covid 19 Advisory Group resulting in a Workforce Risk Assessment Tool. This is the first of its kind in the UK and is in widespread use in the NHS and social care.
  • Wales was the first country in the UK to ban smoking in public places and smoking has fallen to its lowest reported levels. 
  • Wales was the first part of the UK to change the law to presumed consent for organ donation in 2015.
  • Prescriptions remain free in Wales – Welsh Labour scrapped charges in 2007.