Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations

“When something unexpected happens to me” Developing a policy framework for unscheduled care



In July 2018, the Welsh Government published ‘A Healthier Wales: Our plan for Health and Social Care’ in response to the Parliamentary Review of Health and Care Services in Wales.

‘A Healthier Wales’ sets out the need to redesign services in Wales for people of all ages with physical and mental health issues, and states that this can be achieved through a fundamental shift in the way services are provided. This would include delivering care closer to home and reducing unnecessary hospital attendance and admissions, which place a burden on stretched services, and can put some groups of patients – particularly older, frail people – at risk of harm by admitting them to a hospital bed for a prolonged stay when they could benefit from care at home.

In ‘A Healthier Wales’, the Welsh Government commits to taking action: “A series of ‘quality statements’ which describe the outcomes and standards we would expect to see in high quality, patient focussed services will be developed for the NHS. These will set out ambitions to be delivered consistently across Wales.”

What are we working on?

We’re working on developing the quality statements for unscheduled care in response to this statement.

Unscheduled care is the term used to describe any unplanned health or social care. The range of unscheduled care provision includes support to patients at their home, booking of urgent or emergency GP appointments whatever time of day or night, access to crisis or rapid response teams working in the community, emergency ambulance services and emergency department/hospital treatment.

Another way of thinking about an unscheduled care event is “when something unexpected happens” to an individual who may need advice, care or treatment quickly.

How are we doing this?

We are the Health and Social Services Group in Welsh Government. We are tasked with developing a set of quality statements for unscheduled care that will describe ‘what good looks like’ and set out the expectations for NHS Wales, when working with partners, on how to deliver high quality services to people who have an unexpected need for advice, care or treatment.

We are developing this in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders – including patients, third sector organisations, and other statutory bodies.

This policy framework will be made up of two outputs: a summary “what good looks like” document for general circulation, and a detailed technical document to inform planning by the local health boards and Trusts.

We need your assistance!

We are running some engagement events. However, we cannot reach everyone that we want to reach in the timescale available, so we need to rely on other networks to reach as wide an audience as possible and collect diverse views on, and experiences of, unscheduled care.

We are particularly keen to link up with colleagues from professional bodies, third sector organisations and community groups, who play a key role in supporting people with their health and social care all over Wales:

  • We would like to hear your views on these matters, as you have invaluable insights from your experience of supporting people.
  • We would also be grateful if you could collect views on unscheduled care, from the people you support. We want to hear from the patients themselves, as well as the people who work with them.

What we need to find out:

We are seeking feedback from people of all ages and backgrounds in Wales. In addition, it would be particularly helpful if we were able to hear the views of the following groups, as they have specific experiences of health and social care:

  • Parents of young children;
  • Older people;
  • People with a chronic or major health condition(s);
  • People who have multiple health conditions (“co-morbidities”);
  • People who have social care needs/ care and support / support packages;
  • People who access support from mental health services; and
  • People living in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

We want to hear about people’s personal experiences of unscheduled care services, good and bad. We need to understand where the areas of improvement lie, but also what “good looks like”, so we can describe the standards that we will expect health and care services to work towards.

Are you able to help?

We have developed a simple template to enable colleagues to submit their own feedback, as well as the views of people they support. We want to know, based on people’s experiences of health and/or social care services when something unexpected has happened to them (or a friend or relative):

  • What is currently working?
  • What is currently not working?
  • What would it be like in an ideal universe?

We would welcome feedback gathered face to face, but also collected through conversations taking place on social media using #uscWales or #uscCymru on twitter @choosewellwales. Please contact us if you require further information about this.

Please note: people who provide feedback may have very negative and/or painful experiences to report, so colleagues should be aware that some of these conversations may be challenging. We are working on improving unscheduled care services and we value all feedback in this process. We greatly appreciate people taking the time to share their stories.

What are the timescales?

We are spending the summer listening to people of all ages and backgrounds. We will write a draft framework based on all the information we receive, which we would like to share with everyone who has contributed, for further views.

It would be really helpful if we could have feedback from you by 5 September 2018 to give us time to write the draft document and return it to you for review before we launch in October 2018. Please send all information to Aled or Sarah (contact details below).

Who to contact for further information?

If you have any queries about any of the above, need the feedback template, or want to send in your feedback and views, please contact Aled Brown (03000 258306) or Sarah Bale (03000 253325).

We welcome correspondence in Welsh and English.


To feedback using a template feedback form click here and to complete the feedback form in Welsh please click here