Headlines: October 1st, 2008

Four Welsh universities have created a partnership to provide relevant research in primary care. Cardiff, Swansea, Glamorgan and Bangor have joined forces to establish the Wales School for Primary Care Research to develop care in the areas of nursing, optometry, pharmacy and general practice.

The aim of the new school is to share excellence in primary care research and work with professionals in the relevant disciplines. Launching the organisation, the Welsh First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, said ninety per cent of the potential health gain that could be achieved in Wales in the next 20 years would be outside hospitals. “It can and should happen through a partnership with the ordinary citizen, the length and breadth of Wales in every community and the primary care service,” he said.

It is hoped that research produced by the new school will inform how some of Wales’s main health issues are tackled. Mr. Morgan added, “Research shows that those countries who have a strong primary health care service have a high level of health, and are able to control health costs.”

Dr Tony Jewell, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said the skills and expertise of GPs, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and opticians had to be more widely used. Consultation had already begun on providing at least one family nurse in each secondary school to encourage children to develop healthy habits which they could take into adulthood. Wales, he said, had long recognised the importance of investing in prevention as well as providing care and he added, “The Wales School for Primary Care Research will help build on our achievements so far and deliver further improvements in healthcare.”