Members of the Welsh Assembly have been asked to draw up a new primary care strategy before the end of the year.

Outlining, for the first time, her vision for the future of health and social care, new minister Jane Hutt told a conference last week that she was 'not in the business of wholesale structural change'.

But she was 'personally determined to deliver real change in health and social services in Wales which will demonstrate what 'inclusive' politics can mean'.

Ms Hutt told a research and development conference: 'I have made it clear to my officials in the National Assembly that I do not want to consider 'only health' or 'only social services' policy issues in isolation from each other.'

She promised that when she visited services, 'I will insist on seeing both social care and health services side by side, and I will ask sharp questions about the benefits - and the drawbacks - of collaboration'.

Ms Hutt conceded that affordability was 'the hardest question of all', adding: 'For the social services, I know that there is evidence of a real gap between assessed need and resources available, for community care at least.'

But she said that ministers 'have to look at the overall quantum of resource in Wales'.

See news focus, pages 10-11.

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