Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
First Minister welcomes publication of Welsh Speaking Communities report
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has today welcomed the publication of the report and proposed work plan of the Welsh Speaking Communities Task and Finish Group.
- Views sought on positive plans to create a better Wales
- Moving forward, changing lives: New employment programme to help Wales’ hardest to reach young people
- First Minister welcomes publication of Welsh Speaking Communities report
- School term dates regulations
- Draft Planning (Wales) Bill and Positive planning: proposals to reform the planning system in Wales
- Delivering Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drinks Industry 2014-2020
- Further review of the exceptions to regulations regarding the maximum length of fishing boats in the 0-6 nautical mile zone
- Managing radioactive waste safely
- Draft Statutory Instrument - Infant formula and follow-on formula (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014
Featured consultation »New guidance for the Risk Assessment of Walked Routes to School
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightDraft Budget 2014-15
Our focus is on protecting the NHS and schools, boosting economic growth and creating jobs, as well as tackling poverty and protecting the vulnerable.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
Upcoming calendar »
See the schedule for all statistics and research releases.
Written - Influenza A H1N1v Swine Flu
This statement updates Members on the Influenza A (H1N1v) swine flu outbreak and the latest developments in
On 2 July, I wrote to Members informing them that because of the rapid increase in the number of cases of swine flu in parts of the UK, we were moving from the containment to the treatment phase. This meant an immediate end to contact tracing, prophylaxis and the laboratory confirmation of cases.
As part of the move to a treatment phase, new ways of collecting and publishing information about swine flu will come into effect. We are now relying on clinical symptoms for diagnosing the illness rather than laboratory tests, although some patients will still be tested as part of our monitoring to acquire further information about the virus.
The move to a different set of data, will give a fuller picture of the progress of swine flu. Up until now, we have issued daily update reports to stakeholders and the media and published these on the Welsh Assembly Government website. We will now issue a weekly report.
The new weekly report – beginning tomorrow (16th July) and to be published every Thursday in line with the rest of the UK - will include:
- NHS Direct call rates for symptoms likely to be colds or flu;
- The update of what has happened over the previous 7 days to the influenza consultation rate with GPs in Wales, provided by Strategic Coordination Group and LHB area and broken down by age group and gender, and an estimate of the actual numbers;
- A flu surveillance report in the same format as for normal winter seasonal influenza reporting, including data from specifically recruited GP practices and laboratory sampling;
- Laboratory confirmed case numbers and samples tested by week;
- Hospitalisations and deaths; and,
- Comment from the Chief Medical Officer and National Public Health Service, interpreting the data.
Although the Assembly Government will publish weekly reports, the National Public Health Service will continue to update its website daily.
The move to the treatment phase makes it difficult to provide precise numbers of new swine flu cases. However, we do know that there have been over 9,700 laboratory confirmed cases in the UK. 17 people in the UK have died from the effects of the virus. The vast majority of these patients had serious underlying health problems, but we are now seeing deaths in patients with no known underlying health conditions.
In Wales, 66 cases of swine flu have been laboratory confirmed. There have been 9 hospitalisations, but 7 have since been discharged. The NPHS influenza scheme, which records reports of flu diagnoses from more than 300 GP practices in Wales, shows low but increasing levels of activity in all parts of Wales. The report from 13 July estimates there were 19.5 cases of a flu-like illness diagnosed by GPs out of every 100,000 people in Wales. This is the equivalent of 585 people in Wales contacting their GPs in the last 7 days with flu like symptoms. The rates were highest in South East Wales.
As I have previously reported, a vaccine for the A/H1N1 swine flu virus is being developed for use in the UK. The rate at which vaccines will be manufactured and delivered means that prioritisation will be needed. We are therefore working closely with the other UK health departments to agree a common approach. Details of the immunisation strategy are being finalised and will be communicated to the service shortly.
In respect of antivirals, on 3 July the Chief Medical Officer issued guidance to the Health Service in Wales which included a summary of actions for doctors on the treatment of priority groups and the use of prophylaxis and antivirals. The letter also included advice on the use of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in children aged under 1 year old, which has been recommended by the European Medicines Agency and endorsed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The Welsh Assembly Government has issued antivirals from the national stockpile to Local Health Boards and is developing a system to enable the supply of antivirals to community pharmacists. I can assure Assembly Members, some of whom have raised concerns with me, that there are safeguards in our system to reduce the risk of fraud in accessing antivirals and future eligibility to vaccines.
I would like to once again place on record my thanks to the NHS staff – including the staff at NHS Direct - for the way in which they have responded effectively and efficiently in managing swine flu. GP surgeries and hospitals will come under increased pressure in the coming weeks. It is important that we do everything we can to reduce the strain on local health services. If people think they have swine flu they should go online and check their symptoms on www.nhs.uk or call the Swine Flu information line on 0800 1 513 513. If they are still concerned, they should then call their GP who can provide a diagnosis over the phone.
Although the virus causes relatively mild symptoms in the majority of cases, some people will become severely ill and sadly die. As we have made clear from the beginning of this pandemic, excess deaths occur with seasonal flu and sadly we must be prepared to see this too with this pandemic flu virus. As the number of cases rise in Wales we must be prepared for reports of cases of severe illness and loss of life. We will continue to monitor the impact of this illness and adjust action and guidance in the light of emerging evidence.
I will continue to report regularly to the Assembly on these matters, and will keep Members informed over the summer recess if there are significant changes to the current situation.