Headlines: July 10th, 2006

Projects to tackle health inequalities in Wales have been awarded special funding to support their work. The Equity Training and Advocacy Grants, totalling 450,000 pounds over the next two years are going to 28 projects.The grants were initially recommended by Professor Peter Townsend in his report “Targeting Poor Health” as part of a strategy of action inside and outside the National Health Service to address inequities in access to care.The latest payments follow a pilot programme in 2003-04, which as well as proving the value of the grants also highlighted the need to make improvements in working practices. Funding of 210,000 pounds is available in this financial year with a further 240,000 pounds next year.

The schemes that will benefit cover issues including advocacy by carers in health planning, a healthy homes advice project, training for secondary care personnel, cultural diversity training and a Chinese health advocacy programme. The projects will be evaluated and examples of good practice will be shared across Wales.

Welsh Assembly Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons said the grants were part of the whole approach to health and social services outlined in the ten-year strategy ‘Designed for Life’. “Health service providers can bring about change and improve access to health services with relatively little investment.” He said and added, “These projects will enable health professionals to identify wider social, economic or environmental factors affecting patient health, and can encourage new local action to improve health outside their usual remit.”