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Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
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- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
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Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
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Section highlightIndex of Planning Policy Guidance for Wales
Our land use planning policy guidance is set out in two core documents, "Planning Policy Wales" and "Minerals Planning Policy Wales".
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Written - Swine Flu H1N1
This statement updates Members on the swine flu outbreak and the latest developments in Wales and across the UK.
There has been no change in the World Health Organization’s pandemic flu alert level – this remains at phase 5 which reflects widespread human to human transmission. However, even though a pandemic has not been declared, the situation across the world remains serious with over 17,000 cases confirmed in 66 countries (including the UK).
The latest indications are that there have been 117 deaths worldwide, the vast majority in Mexico but also 17 in the USA. There are now confirmed cases on every continent with notable increases in Chile and Australia.
The first case of swine flu in Wales was confirmed on Sunday 31st May. The patient is a 31 year old male from the Caerphilly local authority area who had recently returned from a visit to the USA and reported mild flu symptoms.
The patient was offered antiviral treatment and is recovering at home. I understand that the patient’s close family are all well and have been offered treatment.
A second case of swine flu was confirmed on 3rd June and has been announced today. The case is an adult female from the Swansea area who is recovering at home on treatment. The case is travel related following a visit to the USA.
The situation in Wales as at 5pm on 3 June was that 107 people have been under investigation in Wales. 95 cases have been ruled out, leaving 10 still under investigation. All of these are displaying, or have displayed, mild flu-like symptoms following travel to affected areas.
In the UK – again at 5pm on 3 June - there were 380 confirmed cases, an increase of 273 cases from the 107 I reported on 21 May. There is increasing evidence of sporadic, unlinked cases, some of which are resulting in ongoing spread, particularly in Scotland.
On the basis of the scientific evidence received so far, the Health Protection Agency and the National Public Health Service believe that the currently circulating strain is causing relatively mild illness in the vast majority of cases, though the attack rate may be higher than normal seasonal influenza, with young people most affected. However, we need to be cautious as we know seasonal flu can cause severe illness and we understand that in Scotland, there are 4 patients with the H1N1 virus in intensive care. All 4 appear to be sporadic cases not linked to overseas travel.
Last week, 94 new cases were confirmed in Welford School, Birmingham. This is the largest school outbreak in the UK so far. The school was closed to limit the spread of the virus. There appears to be no travel history associated with these cases which means probable spread in the community; however there is still no evidence of ‘sustained’ community spread. In Scotland there have been similar clusters of cases, such as the Dunoon Glasgow Rangers supporters cluster, who had no travel related contacts with the USA or Mexico.
GP surveillance systems are in place to measure the spread of the virus within communities. The routine clinical surveillance of seasonal influenza-like illness has continued into the summer months, and in addition 19 of the 42 practices involved in this surveillance are testing patients to diagnose unlinked cases in the community.
The computer systems of all practices in Wales with compatible software are being interrogated daily to monitor the rate of consultations for influenza-like illness taking place. Up to 70% of all Welsh practices are now submitting data daily so we are able to assess any community spread.
The UK’s approach is still to limit the spread of infection by means of interventions such as school closures, antiviral prophylaxis and contact tracing. This strategy will not work indefinitely and active consideration is being given to the next phase when that is no longer possible. Throughout this period we will be taking expert scientific advice from the National Public Health Service.
The message to the public therefore remains: to be vigilant and to follow the key hygiene advice set out in the swine flu leaflet delivered to all homes. This becomes even more important as we move to a new phase.
Although the virus still appears less severe than previous pandemics, we remain prepared for the possibility of a more severe second wave of the virus in the winter months. Scientists will be closely monitoring the effects and severity of swine flu in Southern Hemisphere countries such as Chile and Australia during their winter months.
In my last oral statement I informed members that production of pre- pandemic vaccines will begin as soon as possible. We are on track to have the pre-pandemic vaccines stockpile available by the end of December. Priority will be given to protect frontline health and social care workers, and those in clinical risk groups, such as older people and children.
It remains vital that the public are kept informed by the use of accurate and appropriate public health messages. I am also mindful of the importance of regular communication with health professionals and other frontline staff. For that reason a weekly news bulletin has been developed. The bulletin complements the daily updates from the National Public Health Service for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. It is particularly helpful in signposting interested parties to the most up-to-date guidance and advice available on swine flu and on pandemic flu.
The excellent collaboration between the four countries remains, as we continue to ensure we are doing everything we can to prepare for a pandemic.
I will continue to report weekly to the Assembly on these matters, and will keep Members informed if there are significant changes to the current situation.