Access to healthcare – Government action
UK Government actions
- In September 2021, the UK Government announced the new Health and Social Care Levy to help pay for plans to improve healthcare in England, including tackling the backlog in elective care.
- In July 2021, the UK Government introduced the Health and Care Bill to Parliament to support integration of the health and care system and enhance accountability, alongside other objectives.
- In January 2021, the new NHS Race and Health Observatory began work to tackle racial inequalities in health and care.
- In January 2021, the UK Government published a COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan.
- In October 2020, NHS England announced specialist support for people experiencing ‘Long Covid’, followed by a targeted NHS plan and additional funding in June 2021.
- In July 2020, the NHS published its People Plan for 2020–21, which addressed the impact of the pandemic on, for example, ways of delivering care.
- In April 2020, the UK Government announced £6 billion of funding for health services to support the pandemic response, followed by an extra £3 billion in the Spending Review 2020, and £6.6 billion in March 2021.
- In March 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed, enabling former healthcare workers to return to work, public health measures, and the restriction of NHS continuing healthcare assessments.
- In March 2019, NHS England published an interim report on the UK Government-commissioned Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards, proposing changes to waiting time standards.
- The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, commits to addressing health inequalities.
- In June 2018, the UK Government announced a new funding settlement for the NHS of £20.5 billion in real terms – an average 3.4% increase per year up until 2023–24.
- In July 2017, the UK Government introduced an amendment to the NHS charging regime to require overseas visitors, mostly migrants, to pay upfront for non-urgent care.
Welsh Government actions
Access to healthcare is a matter devolved to the Welsh Government.
- In August 2021, the Welsh Government announced £551 million extra funding for health and social services, aimed at covering the ongoing costs of the pandemic and tackling waiting times.
- In April 2021, the Welsh Government established the Vaccine Equity Committee to ensure fair access to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government completed a review of actions in ‘A Healthier Wales’, a plan published in 2018 to improve the accessibility of healthcare services. The £100 million Transformation Fund was created to support its implementation. New actions were added in 2021 to focus on health inequities.
- In November 2020, the Welsh Government signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization to promote and improve health equity.
- In August 2020, the Welsh Government announced a 12-month extension of the Integrated Care Fund and Transformation Fund until April 2022.
- Since December 2020, after being suspended in March, health boards have been able to decide locally when to resume non-urgent outpatient appointments, surgical admissions and procedures.
- In 2019, the Welsh Government introduced a single waiting time target for cancer patients.
- Between 2016 and 2019, the Welsh Government published several plans and programmes to reduce health inequalities and remove barriers to accessing healthcare for different groups. These include a Transgender Action Plan (2016), ‘Enabling Gypsies, Roma and Travellers’ (2018), the Learning Disability: Improving Lives Programme (2018), and a Refugee and Asylum Seeker Plan (2019).
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 30/09/2021