Mrs Griffiths said the group – the National Clinical Forum – would give independent advice to Local Health Boards on their plans to ensure that they stood up to clinical best practice and delivered services of the highest quality.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“In the next few weeks, Local Health Boards will be submitting their plans on how they plan to deliver modern, effective healthcare for their local communities.
“Their proposals must be based on addressing long term clinical needs and improving health outcomes, not based on short-sighted vested interests and free from political point-scoring.
“This is too important an issue to become a political football. That is why I am establishing an independent group to assess the proposals from a clinical perspective. The National Clinical Forum will ensure that local plans are in the best interests of patients and based on sound clinical advice.
“As well as looking at individual proposals, the group will also consider important interdependencies that require a regional approach to ensure the best solutions for Wales.”
The National Clinical Forum will be chaired by the Medical Director of NHS Wales, Dr Chris Jones, and comprise clinicians from within the NHS, including specialists from critical care, children’s health, nursing and midwifery, general surgery.
Dr Chris Jones, Medical Director NHS Wales, said:
“There is now an increasing consensus that in order to deliver safe, sustainable and high quality patient care, some services will have to change.
“But we need to ensure that the proposals meet clinical best practice and deliver services of the highest quality, and also that comprehensive engagement with patients and staff is undertaken before any decisions are made.”
It is expected that the group will meet for the first time in October.