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Written Statement - White Paper Consultation: Services Fit for the Future, Quality and Governance in Health and Care in Wales

Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport
Today the Minister for Social Services and Public Health and I are publishing Services Fit for the Future, a White Paper which sets out proposals to take forward health and care services for generations to come, to put people at the centre of service delivery and enable organisations to work together and across boundaries.  

In recent years we have set out a clear mandate for public services to work with each other and with the public to meet the needs of the individuals and populations they serve.  Legislation already passed by the Assembly, including the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2015 supports this aim. The White Paper looks at opportunities to build on existing responsibilities, to unlock potential and future-proof services.  

In 2015, the previous Government consulted on Our Health, Our Health Service, a Green Paper which promoted a high level discussion and posed open questions to help inform any future actions, including potential legislation, on a range of issues. The consultation generated a wave of interest and appetite to ensure greater partnership working across health boards; more effective engagement with the public and representation of citizens’ voices, and further integration and openness, transparency and clarity in the remit of inspection.

The responses received from the Green Paper consultation, as well as a number of the recommendations made in the OECD Review of Health Care Quality in the UK and other reviews, have shaped the White Paper proposals.  

The White Paper includes:

• Measures to promote stronger governance and leadership to ensure our services are led, planned and developed in the way they need to be in the years to come – this includes proposals about the composition of NHS boards, as well as statutory protection for the Board Secretary role;

• Duties to promote cultural change across health and social care so that service planning and delivery are more aligned – this includes a Duty of Quality for the Population of Wales which will focus on quality at a local level as well as supporting regional and national collaborative working; and a new Duty of Candour to place citizens at the heart of decisions and information sharing;

• Common processes to underpin person-centred health and care, which will promote further integration and be of benefit to citizens – this includes proposals for high level common standards across health and social care; and the joint investigations of complaints which span health and social care, irrespective of setting;

• A strengthening of the voice of citizens in the way services are planned – this includes proposals to replace the current model of Community Health Councils with new independent arrangement across health and social care to represent the interest of the public;

• A future-proofed inspection and regulation service, potentially sitting with the citizen voice arrangements as part of a newly formed independent body; and

• A clearer process for service change.

It is our hope that the direction of travel set out in the White Paper will act as a platform for the findings of the Parliamentary Review, which are eagerly awaited by us all.

The consultation will run from 28 June until 29 September and the Minister and I very much hope people will take this opportunity to influence potential future legislation on the quality and governance of our health and care services in Wales.

https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/services-fit-future