Health Minister wishes NHS staff a safe and happy Christmas20 December 2012, Welsh Government
In a Christmas message to staff published on the Welsh Government website today, the Minister said:
"Throughout 2012, I have travelled all over Wales and had the privilege of talking to so many dedicated NHS staff. They are committed to providing the best possible care for their patients and to improving the health of the people of Wales.
"Staff are the lifeblood of the NHS and I want to thank everyone for their hard work this year. In the face of a marked increase in demand for services, staff have continued to improve the care they provide. This is a remarkable achievement and one to be celebrated.
"Wales has experienced the fastest rate of improvement across the UK for survival rates for cancer over the last 15 years.
"We have seen reduced emergency admissions and re-admissions for coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes.
"I am proud a recent survey showed an overwhelming majority of people, 92%, were satisfied with the care they received from their GP or family doctor at their last visit. The same proportion of people were satisfied with the care they received at their last NHS hospital appointment.
"We know there is much more to do to improve the health of everyone in Wales and to secure safe, high quality and sustainable services for the future.
"This year we have seen much debate about our plans to modernise NHS services. Change is never easy, however, it is vital to respond to the evolving picture of health in Wales. This is about putting in place safe and sustainable services for the long term, the development of specialist centres of excellence and more care closer to people's homes.
"Whilst many people look forward to time off over Christmas, the NHS never sleeps and thousands of staff will continue to care for patients. I am sure I speak for everyone in Wales when I wish NHS Wales staff a Merry Christmas and a heartfelt thank you."