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A genuine partnership between the NHS, the voluntary sector, Welsh local government and Welsh Assembly Government i...
A genuine partnership between the NHS, the voluntary sector, Welsh local government and Welsh Assembly Government is beginning to improve the health of the nation. That was one the key messages delivered at a major health conference in Cardiff today.

Leading figures from local and national government, health and voluntary sector are meeting during the next 2 days to explore the local landscape for health and well-being in Wales.

Opening the conference discussions WLGA director Steve Thomas said:

'Local government can be positive about its progress and its partnership work with colleagues. We are where we are, despite our different agendas, because we share fundamental aims and beliefs. These have helped us overcome our differences and our engagement on Local Health Boards supports this agenda.'

He added:

'It surprises some that local government is involved in the health agenda at all. For some of our members and officers, understanding and engaging in the health agenda isn't easy. Similarly, the NHS may not always have viewed the local council as a key partner. But through local partnership, our roles and commitment across the broad health agenda have continued to grow.'

'Working with our partners has given us a reminder of local government's past role. Collaborative working and overcoming health inequalities has sharpened our focus on supporting health'.

'But whilst the tenacity of our members and officers grows there remain some key challenges, notably around better information, putting evidence into practice, learning to commission effectively together and achieving a greater awareness and appreciation of our mutual roles.'

He also stressed that local partnerships had an ability to innovate not imitate:

'It is not about imitating central policy. Local partnerships had a commitment and passion that local services should be free to respond and innovate to reflect local communities' needs'.

The 'Connect 4 Health' conference programme is varied including presentations, round-table discussions and exhibitions on local practice.

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