The Welsh NHS Confederation is the only membership body that represents all the organisations that make up the NHS in Wales: the seven Local Health Boards, three NHS Trusts and Health Education and Improvement Wales.
Ahead of the Senedd elections in 2021 we’ve sought the views of our members and set out their vision for the health and care system in Wales.
This briefing puts forward our calls for the election and how political parties, the electorate and our partners can come together to address the key challenges facing the health and care system and deliver on the vision put forward by NHS leaders. To do this, we need to value the workforce, engage the public and deliver system-wide services.
As part of developing our calls, we carried out a survey in December 2019 with our members - NHS leaders from across Wales, including Chairs, Vice Chairs, Chief Executives and Executive Directors - to identify what matters to them.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that health and social care would be a central topic ahead of the Senedd election. As highlighted in the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales, the health and care system in Wales, like the rest of the UK, faces many challenges. In our election survey, members identified the following main challenges for the NHS in Wales:
- Recruitment and retention of the workforce;
- A lack of integration between health and social care;
- The need to support an ageing population;
- Finance and cost pressures; and
- Challenges around the pace of service change and redesign.
Despite these challenges, there are numerous enablers and solutions that NHS leaders put forward to achieve transformational service change, including:
- Continuing to implement the long-term vision for health and social care as recommended within the Parliamentary Review;
- Working collaboratively across organisational boundaries;
- Delivering compassionate leadership across all sectors;
- Developing population and wellbeing outcomes across health and social care;
- Having a long-term financial plan for health and social care;
- Achieving clinical and public support for change; and
- Establishing governance arrangements to enhance regional and national decision making.
Many of these solutions have already become evident from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has changed the NHS and social care, ushering in rapid transformation at a time of immense pressure and personal and professional challenge. The pandemic will have significant impact on the future of the population, society and services. In addition, this will be the first Senedd election with the UK out of the European Union, which will mark a very different international relationship and political landscape.
In the lead up to the Senedd election, it is important to have a constructive debate around the solutions required to further implement the vision for the health and care system. We call for all political parties and candidates to play a leadership role and ensure the debate focuses on quality-based outcomes, prevention, community services and
Everyone in Wales wants a sustainable and viable health and care system that is fit for the future. The Welsh NHS Confederation will continue to represent the views of our members in the debate and we look forward to working with all political parties and candidates.
Click here to see the Welsh version.