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Wednesday 21st March 2018

The future of health service in Wales

25th July 2008

Simon Jones, chair of the NHS Confederation Wales and of Cardiff and Vale trust, comments on the future of the health service in Wales.

future of nhsQ

Health minister Edwina Hart's conclusions following the consultation on the future structure of the health service in Wales coincided with a party in Cardiff to mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS and the 50th anniversary of Paul Robeson and Aneurin Bevan's address to the National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale.

But while we look back, the true test of our ability to reform the NHS is in looking forward.
The reforms are much as expected: getting rid of the internal market with only one NHS tier beneath the government and a greater scrutiny role for community health councils in Wales.

There will now be a period of consultation and of sorting out staff, financial issues, and contractual and service relationships.

Battle lines will inevitably be drawn with the civil service and NHS differing on the nature of the national board and primary care keen to see its services receive the proper attention.

Local government will probably insist that locally elected councillors should be involved and cases for small boards will be countered by that for larger stakeholder boards.

While all this is going on, current challenging targets must be met in an increasingly difficult financial environment.

There have been numerous reorganisations in the 20 years since I have been involved in health boards but while considering these latest changes, my thoughts did stray to Bevan's views on change: "The NHS must always grow and change, it must always appear inadequate."


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