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Services Fit For the Future – Quality and Governance in Health and Care in Wales

On Monday, as Assembly Members return from summer recess the Board of Community Health Councils will deliver hundreds more individual responses to the White Paper: Services fit for the future. The White Paper contains Welsh Government proposals to abolish CHCs and along with them powers that exist to hold the NHS to account on behalf of patients and the public.

Plans include introducing a new body with a remit based on the Scottish Health Council, an organisation that is facing an uncertain future following significant criticism of its role and remit.

The Welsh Government released its proposals quietly just as the Assembly broke up for the summer and may be forgiven for thinking that the public may not be aware of, or care much about them.

However, CHCs found that once people understood the proposals they tended to feel quite strongly. Unsurprisingly many are keen to see a stronger people’s voice organisation but one that is independent, can hear directly from people about their experience and has the teeth to challenge care providers when they find that improvement is needed.

Mutale Merrill Chair of the Board of CHCs told us

‘We use the summer months to get out to fetes and festivals to hear from our communities about NHS services. This year we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who also took the time to talk to us about the proposals and how they wanted to be represented in future. ‘

Over 600 people took time away from their summer day out to complete a written response to Welsh Government, some of these have already been submitted, others took the link to give their views on line.

CHCs agree that a new body is needed with a remit over health and social care but have expressed serious concern that Welsh Government plans would deliver a people’s voice body with no remit to listen to people and no power to represent their interests or hold organisations to account on the service they deliver. They have used public feedback to develop their ideas about what a future body should look like. You can find an outline on their website

The Welsh Government consultation remains open until September 29th. You can access the online form at

https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/services-fit-future

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