Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am pleased to provide an update about progress in responding to the publication of the Mid Wales Healthcare Study. I have now received formal board-level responses to the report from the chairs of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) and the three health boards covering the Mid Wales area (Powys Teaching Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board).
Each board recognises the analysis and supports the recommendations within the report, particularly the need to work collaboratively to plan and deliver safe, sustainable, high quality and accessible healthcare services for the population of Mid Wales. There is also support for an independent chair for any new arrangements. Each response helpfully outlines some good examples of initiatives which are already underway to support the recommendations within the report.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of two independent co-chairs for the Mid Wales Health Collaborative which is being established through the three health boards and WAST. This formally sets in motion the first key recommendation made by Professor Longley.
Dr Ruth Hall CB and Mr Jack Evershed have both agreed to undertake these roles, which are crucially important in providing a challenge and support function to the health boards. This represents a strong partnership and will provide an excellent opportunity to pilot and develop new ways for co-chairs to work together to best effect. The key responsibilities for the independent co-chairs will include :
- Chairing the Mid Wales Health Collaborative Board meetings;
- Leading across complex issues as determined by the Mid Wales Health Collaborative Board;
- Promoting new thinking in tackling historical challenges;
- Energising and shaping engagement with the public, staff and clinicians, and
- Facilitating a collaborative approach to resolving issues.
Hywel Dda University Health Board will undertake the formal appointment as part of the establishment of the new Mid Wales Health Collaborative Board.
The Mid Wales Rural Healthcare Conference – another recommendation of the Study Report - will be held at the Cefn Lea Conference Centre in Powys on 12 March. This will be an excellent opportunity to bring together leading thinkers and those with experience of providing innovative service models in rural areas. I look forward to attending and to taking part in the Conference’s deliberations.