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Written Statement - National Clinical Forum

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Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services

I am writing to update Assembly Members on progress of the National Clinical Forum (NCF).

As I explained in my letter of 4 October, the NCF is being established to provide clinical advice to Local Health Boards, through their Chief Executives, on their proposals for service change.  The first formal meeting of the Forum will be held on Tuesday 22 November in Cardiff followed by monthly meetings until the summer of 2012.  The meetings have been arranged so they rotate around Wales and the next two meetings will be held in Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr, in December and January respectively.

NHS Wales Chief Executives have invited Professor Mike Harmer to co-Chair the NCF and he is in discussion with the National Medical Directors in England and Scotland to identify a suitable co-Chair who can bring experience of major service reconfiguration to the role.  As many of you will know, Professor Harmer is the current Chair of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC).

The following will provide clinical representation to the NCF:

  • Public Health Wales
  • Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Welsh Medical Committee National Specialist Advisory Groups
  • child health
  • women’s health
  • mental health
  • medicine
  • surgery
  • anaesthesia / critical care
  • general practice
  • National Joint Professional Advisory Committee, Welsh Scientific Advisory Committee
  • National Joint Professional Advisory Committee, Welsh Therapies Advisory Committee
  • National Joint Professional Advisory Committee, Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee
  • General practitioner (nominated by the British Medical Association)
  • Nurse (nominated by Royal College of Nursing)
  • Midwife (nominated by Royal College of Midwives)
  • Postgraduate Deanery
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales
  • National Director for Together for Health
  • Chair of Welsh Dental Committee
  • Chair of Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee

Andrew Carruthers, the National Director of Together for Health is also in discussion with the Institute of Rural Health about the role they may play in informing the work of the Forum.  The Institute are based in Newtown and have an international reputation for excellence in the promotion of health and well being in rural settings.

The NCF will not have decision making powers and its full remit is to be agreed at the meeting on 22 November.  However, I understand Chief Executives will be expecting the Forum to focus on the following broad questions:

  • Are current services delivering the outcomes we aspire to?
  • How should clinical services and other support be arranged to deliver the best outcomes on a long term basis for the whole of Wales?
  • Are the proposed service changes patient centred?
  • How can we ensure service plans are deliverable?
  • How should services be aligned to ensure they meet the needs of the population as a whole?

I expect all Health Boards to engage fully with their local communities and stakeholders before their final proposals are published.  The role of the NCF will be to provide assurance that any new arrangements are clinically safe and meet the needs of local people.  As I have said before, our Community Health Councils have a key role to play in ensuring the widest possible debate with local communities within the open and collaborative processes set by Local Health Boards.

In my Foreword to Together for Health – A 5-year vision for the NHS in Wales  published on 1st November, I stated that clinical practice is changing and there is an urgent need for services to be put on a more sustainable footing.  The scale of the challenge means all of us, politicians, the NHS and partner organisations, communities and citizens, must get behind the task together and collectively deliver a new and better health system for every patient in Wales.

The confirmed membership of the NCF to-date is;

  • Prof Mike Harmer (co-Chair) Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee
  • Andrew Carruthers National Director, Together for Health
  • Dr Keith Griffiths  Director of Therapies, Betsi Cadwaladr University HB
  • Dr Helen Matthews  Consultant Psychiatrist, Hywel Dda HB
  • Prof. Derek Gallen Postgraduate Dean
  • Nigel Davies Chair, National Specialist Advisory Group (Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
  • Dr Paul Hughes Medical Director, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Dr Mike Tidely Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales
  • Mr Roger Morgan Clinical Director, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University HB
  • Dr Keith Griffiths Chair, Welsh Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Sarah Plummer Chair, National Specialist Advisory Group (Anaesthesia/Critical Care)
  • Iolo Doull Chair, National Specialist Advisory Group (Paediatrics)
  • Robert Sainsbury Royal College of Nursing
  • Sandra Morgan Welsh Therapies Advisory Committee
  • Neil Statham  General Practitioner (nominated by British Medical Association)
  • Peter Bradley Executive Director of Public Health Development
  • Helen Rogers Royal College of Midwives
  • Dr Richard Moore Chair, National Specialist Advisory Group (Medicine)
  • Jo Williams Project Manager
  • Jill Paterson Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee
  • Jane Herve Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee
  • Karl Bishop Chair, Welsh Dental Committee
  • Alan Axford Rural Health Plan Implementation Group