RCP Cymru Wales has published a new paper, endorsed by 17 organisations, that sets out findings from a joint workshop with regional partnership boards in Wales.
As the latest NHS Wales waiting times are published, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has launched Under pressure: Collaboration, innovation and new models of integrated care in Wales, which sets out findings and recommendations from a joint workshop between regional partnership boards (RPBs), royal colleges and other professional bodies.
Tackling A&E waiting times has to be a priority for the Welsh government. Closer working between the NHS and social care is key to getting patients home quicker, which in turn will free up time and resources for clinicians to see more people, more quickly, at the front door of the hospital. This is why RPBs are tasked with spending almost £150 million on innovative projects that bridge the gap between health and social care. However, they find themselves under pressure to transform services while grappling with staffing shortages and financial instability.
The system is under such intense pressure that RPBs often find themselves firefighting. Their funding is increasingly being used to support winter planning. Staff are stretched, both on the ground and at the senior level. Senior managers in health boards and local authorities are often very supportive of a project, but have limited capacity to take ideas forward.
Endorsed by 17 royal colleges and professional bodies, this new briefing paper calls on the Welsh government to:
- develop a national, more strategic approach to workforce and service planning
- ensure that health boards and local authorities taper and match-fund staff costs for the regional integration fund (RIF)
- support RPBs to work more closely with primary care clusters and the new NHS Wales Executive
- support RPBs to evaluate success and measure performance more effectively.