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Section 1 - Executive Summary

On this page:

 - Who we are and what we do
 - Our strategy
 - The challenges we face 
 - A strategy for the future
 - Our role
 - Our priorities under this strategy (see section 6)
 - Delivering our strategy


Who we are and what we do

We are Public Health Wales – the national public health organisation for Wales. Our purpose is ‘working together for a healthier Wales'. We exist to help all people in Wales live longer, healthier lives. With our partners, we aim to increase healthy life expectancy, improve health and well-being, and reduce inequalities for everyone in Wales, now and for future generations. 

Together, our teams work to prevent disease, protect health, and provide leadership, specialist services and public health expertise. We are the main source of public health information, research and innovation in Wales.


Our strategy

This Long-Term Strategy sets out our vision for achieving a healthier future for people in Wales by 2035. We are committed to working towards a Wales where people live longer, healthier lives and where everyone has fair and equal access to the things that lead to good health and well-being. We will do this through focusing on six priorities, which we describe in this document. These will also be our well-being objectives. We have set out why we have chosen these priorities and the work we will do under each over the coming years. We cannot deliver these priorities alone. To succeed, we will need to work together and in partnership with our key stakeholders and the public.


The challenges we face

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a great effect on the people of Wales, which will continue to be felt for years to come. This includes not only the direct impact on our health and well-being but also the wider and longer-term implications. The social and economic consequences of the pandemic have been felt unequally across our society, particularly among those who already had the greatest health and social needs.

These inequalities are likely to be even more affected in the coming years as a result of the current cost-of-living crisis. Wages and benefits are not keeping pace with rising living costs, particularly energy and food prices, which means people will not be able to afford the essentials. This will be a long-term public health issue, which will affect the whole population and make existing health inequalities worse. We also know the effect that these challenges, particularly the pandemic, have had on the wider health and social-care system.

The current pressure on the NHS and social care is considerable, and a range of partners will need to work together to address this over the coming years. The direct and indirect effects of this pressure on the public, including patients and their families, is significant. Alongside this, we should focus on supporting health equity (making sure everyone has fair access to the things that keep us healthy). 

Climate change is possibly the most significant global threat that we face. Its consequences will affect all areas of life that are essential for achieving and maintaining good health. Urgent action is needed to tackle climate change, and to meet the rest of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


A strategy for the future

The challenges that we face are obvious and difficult. However, we have seen the power and impact that we can have when we combine our efforts and expertise. Wales has a proud history of community and co-operation. As a country, we have seen how much we can achieve through welcoming innovation, technological developments, and our commitment to working together. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015) allows us to take a long-term preventative approach, involving the public and working with our partners to tackle the challenges that we face today and tomorrow.

This strategy is our response to those challenges. It sets out our role and how we will work to meet the challenges and make the most of the opportunities we are given. It also sets out the key priorities that we will focus our efforts and resources on. We must find new and innovative ways of putting our strategy in place, by building on what works, working closely with our partners, and putting those who use our services at the heart of what we do. Our strategy will be supported by other strategies, such as our Digital and Data Strategy, Research and Evaluation Strategy and Quality as an Organisational Strategy. These will direct and shape how we will meet our priorities and work in the future.

To put this strategy in place effectively we will work regularly with the third sector, community representatives, service users and the public to identify how we can collectively tackle the priorities identified in this strategy. Our new strategy will run until 2035 and set out our long-term direction in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. We have welcomed the ‘five ways of working’ set out in the act, and we will use these to help develop and put in place our strategy over the coming years.


Our role

We will work with our national and international partners, including through networks such as the Internal Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), to help deliver our strategy. As the Welsh member of IANPHI, and the national public health institute for Wales, we will work with our partners to protect and improve the public’s health. In our strategy, we have made sure that we describe where we can add the most value for the people of Wales and our partners.


Our priorities under this strategy (see section 6)

  1. Influencing the wider determinants of health
  2. Promoting mental and social well-being
  3. Promoting healthy behaviours
  4. Supporting the development of a sustainable health and care system focused on prevention and early intervention
  5. Delivering excellent public health services to protect the public and maximise population health outcomes
  6. Tackling the public health effects of climate change


For each priority, we have set outcomes that will help us see the progress we have made in delivering the strategy. We aim to clearly describe how we:

  • inform our partners about current and emerging threats to health in Wales, the factors which influence health, well-being and inequalities, and the evidence that shows we need to take action;
  • advocate for action to improve and protect health and reduce inequalities in health;
  • mobilise our partners to take action to improve health and well-being and reduce health inequalities; and
  • deliver public services that we know have been based on available evidence.


Delivering our strategy

As we begin to put our strategy in place, we recognise that we are working in an unpredictable and changing environment. This is reflected in our strategic risks (anything that might stop us delivering our expected outcomes), which we have reviewed and updated alongside our strategy. We need to show that we can respond quickly and positively to new threats and opportunities. As a learning organisation, we will make sure our services have the most value and the biggest effect. This means we will prioritise those areas where we can have greatest effect and be flexible when responding to new issues. 

We will regularly review our priorities to make sure they are still valid in light of changes both within and outside of our organisation. This will be supported by public health evidence, identifying future threats (such as antimicrobial resistance), feedback from those who use our services and engaging with our stakeholders.