A healthy society is about more than just preventing injuries and reducing the death toll from disease. It is about having access to safe neighbourhoods and good quality, secure housing, broadening job opportunities and reducing income inequality, providing opportunities for making healthier choices, and fostering community cohesion. It is also about a resilient society, with a particular focus on enabling people to know how to support their and their families’ mental well-being.
To create these healthier societies, we need to look beyond the role of the NHS and create cross-sector partnerships, working with a diverse range of agencies who have the power to influence health and wellbeing outcomes by making health a factor in every planning and investment decision they take. By working together across all sectors and policies, building capability, synergies and trust, we will focus and prioritise our collective efforts to improve the health and well-being of the people in Wales and beyond.
Moreover, there is a role not only for formal agencies but for people and communities themselves. While there are common challenges facing population groups with similar demography or social status, individual and family experience will differ. It’s important to understand these experiences, to engage with and empower communities, allowing them to shape national and local policy – including making the effort to involve the most vulnerable.
At the conference, we look forward to examining what makes a healthy society, and how all of us, working in partnership as a single public health system, can move Wales closer to a place where all of our people and communities are fulfilling their healthy potential.