Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Health Service: Judge, Jury and Executioner

The Minister for Health, Edwina Hart AM has been accused of a "personal takeover" in her latest reform announcement of the NHS. She had intended the organisations would be in place by April next year.

Mrs Hart is to to chair a new NHS Wales advisory board despite suggestions in consultation that an "arms length" body would be more appropriate. She said the board would meet in public and "the buck stops" with her.


  • A National Advisory Board, chaired by the health minister, will be established
  • A separate delivery board will also be created, chaired by the NHS Wales chief executive, responsible for the day-to-day operational performance of the seven new NHS local bodies
  • Further work will be undertaken on whether the seven new bodies will be allocated some of the responsibilities of Health Commission Wales, the specialist commissioning body
  • A unified public health organisation will be formed, with executive responsibility for public health being vested with the seven NHS local bodies and at a national level.
  • A strengthened public health presence within local government
Conservative health spokesman Jonathan Morgan warned the advisory board would mean the "the politicisation of the health service in a way that I never thought possible".

"I do not understand why a government minister needs to be so involved in the day to day delivery of services,"

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Jenny Randerson said she completely rejected what she branded a "socialist model of the NHS".

Ms Randerson said the minister had "undermined the whole process of consultation by ignoring the wishes of those who responded to the consultation" by calling for a body that was a step away from politicians.

She accused Ms Hart of "going through the motions" and producing "the most centralising announcement in the assembly's history".

"I have immense regard for Edwina's energy and abilities but that does not stop me worrying hugely about the scale of this personal takeover," she said.


Ian 4 October 2008 at 12:24  

I find it a bit rich for Lib Dems to be critical of the current changes being put through in the Welsh NHS, when they were part of the team who created the current administrative nightmare in the first place.
They even boasted about it at the time with Mike German making analogies between Beveridge/Bevan and their Lib/Lab coalition of the time.
There might be questions about who is in charge of this particular committee, but I cannot see how anyone can defend the current set-up. It's a licence to waste money, jointly created by the previous Labour lot and the Lib Dems.

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