The conference is funded, organised and run jointly by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales NHS Trust. The theme this year is ‘Fairer Health Outcomes for All’ which is taken from the health inequalities action plan launched in 2011.
The annual cost to the economy of dealing with the consequences of health inequities in Wales could be as much as £4 billion per year. This is caused by the cost of additional illness, productivity losses, lost taxes and higher welfare payments.
The conference aims to:
- Develop understanding and learning on health inequities in Wales;
- Take forward action on tackling health inequities in Wales;
- Inform policy making and practice; and
- Raise the profile of public health in Wales.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“It is unfair, unjust, and immoral to tolerate variations in health outcomes among our communities. They are just not acceptable.
“This is not a health service problem. It is our problem, across the whole of government and civil society. We need to act together, to work together, and to take the responsibility for achieving better shared outcomes for our country.
“We need to integrate health into all policies. This kind of joined-up approach to Government ensures that the economic, social and the environmental issues that enhance people’s quality of life are integrated into everything that we do.
“A priority for action has to be the health of the youngest and most vulnerable in our communities.”
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“The NHS in Wales will not deviate from the founding principles that brought it into existence. I believe in a high quality NHS that is free for all, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.
“Working with the NHS, we have put improving health and preventing avoidable ill health at the heart of the planning process.
“I want the NHS to start measuring and reporting more clearly what health outcomes it achieves. We must make sure that NHS services are of a high standard everywhere. Reducing health inequities is a moral imperative and an issue of social justice.
“The NHS can also use its weight in the community to do good in ways other than just providing services. It should look for opportunities to help create safe, confident, prosperous and sustainable communities and tackle poverty and its impacts on health.”
Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said:
“Where a person lives or their social circumstance should not lead to a lesser quality of life and a premature death. Inequity is when the inequalities in health are avoidable, when things such as lack of access to service provision unfairly impact on an individual.
“Smoking, alcohol, diet and inactivity can lead to inequalities. We will work across policy areas to put in place the building blocks to support long term, joint working with the people of Wales and providers of health and social care to achieve greater equity in health.
“There are no quick fixes but the lives, and quality of life, for Welsh citizens depends on our efforts.”