Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
Over recent years the Welsh Government and NHS Wales have undergone substantial organisational change. Over the same time, the number of standing advisory bodies for health, to both the Government and the health service, has increased to the point where there are now many such groups.
The Welsh Government undertook a three month evidence gathering exercise early this year and determined that the system included a large number of highly engaged health professionals but also has extensive duplication, signs of silo working and produces insufficient outcomes relative to its participation requirements.
Health policy and service models can only be as good as the clinical input that underpins them. In Wales we are fortunate to have a strong history and commitment to collaboration and working in partnership. We need a strong, credible system for harnessing expert clinical opinion in order to drive forward service improvement. In turn, this will help us develop new service models that deliver better health outcomes and to live within our resources.
As a result, I have decided to engage further on the Task and Finish Group’s recommendation that the 32 national advisory groups should be replaced by a single Joint Professional Council. The Council would provide clinical advice for the people of Wales and act as a clinical reference group to Welsh Government, NHS Wales, bodies such as the Bevan Commission and groups such as the Clinical Networks.
The final proposals will be included in the Government’s future legislative programme for full consultation but I encourage all stakeholders to participate in the interim engagement process.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.