RCP Cymru Wales has published its response to the Welsh government’s stakeholder questionnaire on establishing an NHS Executive for Wales.
While we have previously advocated for an independent NHS Executive for Wales, we recognise that for now, the decision has been made to establish the executive as a hybrid model, a small senior team within government to oversee the work of selected NHS organisations.
Now we need the NHS and Welsh government to show more ambition, drive and vision, while being more open and transparent in how it collaborates with patient groups, the third sector, and other stakeholders. The people of Wales must be given the opportunity to take a more active role in the way their public services are developed and delivered.
The pace of change needs to speed up: almost eighteen months since the publication of the NCF, we have seen only five quality statements published by the Welsh government, no implementation plans, and very limited progress on setting up national clinical networks. The new executive must be clinically led, with engagement – not endorsement – on how it operates and designs clinical services.
The proposed hybrid model lacks legislative competence over health boards and trusts and cannot mandate action – at present, for example, there is no way to require NHS health boards and trusts to work together regionally across organisational boundaries – something which will be absolutely vital to improving performance outcomes and tackling the planned care backlog in the coming years.
While we acknowledge that the pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption over the past two years, it is now more important than ever that we move forward with developing a world-class health and care service for the people of Wales. We are keen to reiterate that closer collaboration, open and transparent two-way communication, and genuine co-production of clinical services with patient groups and health and care professionals will be vital to the success of this vision.