Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford has represented the UK at a major conference in Brussels.
The conference is being attended by a number of Health Ministers from across Europe and leading experts in the field of Health Inequalities, to discuss progress on an EU-wide effort to tackle health inequalities.
The UK is part of Equity Action – a programme which aims to reduce health inequalities by helping to influence and improve policies at national and regional level and harness the contribution of stakeholders. It is jointly funded by the EU Health Programme, 15 EU Member States and Norway, and involves 25 partner organisations, 30 regions and numerous stakeholders.
The Welsh Government's participation in Equity Action has helped to build skills and develop knowledge at both national and regional partner levels. In Wales, this expertise will help inform our strategic bid for 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) monies. This bid will specifically meet the ESF priorities of 'Tackling Poverty through Sustainable Employment' and 'Promoting Social Inclusion'.
Speaking at the conference, which aims to showcase the results of the Joint Action on health inequalities 'Equity Action', Mark Drakeford said:
"Getting health inequalities on the agenda and raising its profile has been an important achievement of the programme.
"The fact that we are getting health inequalities into the decision making process has shown we are making progress and being taken seriously by others.
"We have been able to open up new partnerships and engage with business, environmental and educational partners by getting health inequalities into mainstream EU structural funding programmes that has helped increase the resources directed to the issue.
"In Wales, our Community Wellbeing Coaches programme already attracts EU support as it seeks to bridge the gap between health and other services and the vulnerable groups that don't traditionally get them.
"The results of this programme will help us continue to shape the services and programmes we provide in Wales, to create the conditions for good health and well being for all."