MORE progress is needed on expanding access to community-based services for chronic health conditions in Wales, despite reductions in hospital admissions for such problems.

That is the conclusion of a report from Auditor General for Wales Huw Vaughan Thomas, six years on from an initial investigation.

His new report highlights improvements, such as better access to patient education programmes to support self-management of long term conditions, bigger budgets for community services, more nurses working in community settings, and patients being able to get quicker access to community-based services.

But it warns too that some plans for shifting the emphasis from hospital to community-based care are not clear enough, while most chronic conditions services are only available on weekdays.

Prevalence of chronic conditions increases with age and the burden on the NHS is likely to increase as more people live longer.

The report highlights several examples of shifting services into community settings, including an Aneurin Bevan University Health Board move to develop more diabetes management services with GP involvement.