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Written Statement - Green Paper: Our Health, Our Health Service

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We are seeking your views on how we can improve quality and governance in the NHS.
Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

A Green Paper is today being published to gather views about what legislative measures could be introduced to improve the quality of health services and the governance and functions of the NHS in Wales.

We want to build a culture of continuous improvement in the health service in Wales and in the quality of care provided to people wherever it is received. 

There are countless examples of good practice and quality healthcare being provided across the NHS in Wales every day. However, there are also occasions when things go wrong, underlining the need for continuous improvement, open and transparent accountability and stronger governance. This has rightly resulted in further discussion about the challenges the NHS in Wales faces what possible action we can take together to resolve them. 

The Green Paper covers a number of key issues.

Part one sets out issues in relation to NHS quality, including actions which have already been taken to strengthen the health service in Wales and the challenges we continue to face. The Green Paper invites comments about what legislative measures the Welsh Government could take to improve quality further. Some of the key issues raised include:

  • Improving quality through duties and embedding it through common standards;
  • Promoting openness, honesty and candour;
  • Improving the independence of the inspectorates, including the possibility of a merger of Health Inspectorate Wales and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales; the future role and functions of community health councils.

Part two outlines a range of NHS governance, finance and functions provisions which have arisen since the reorganisation of the NHS in Wales in 2009 and highlights a number of potential legislative options. In particular, it focuses on: 

  • Considering the alignment of the powers, duties and accountabilities of health boards and NHS trusts; including whether we should give health boards borrowing powers.
  • Improving the leadership and governance of NHS Wales, including looking at health board and NHS trust board membership.

The Green Paper consultation will run over an extended period until 20 November 2015. Stakeholder events will be held during the Autumn.