.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keeping their distance

The reconfiguration of the health service that was attempted in 2006-2007 had dire consequences for the Labour Party. They lost many seats in West and North Wales and shortly after the Assembly elections the One Wales Government abandoned the plans and announced a moratorium on hospital closures.

What are we to make therefore of today's announcement by the Health Minister that changes to the health service will be assessed by an independent body. Plans by local health boards to "modernise" services will be reviewed by a new National Clinical Forum.

This is a clear signal that many of the closures and changes that caused so much controversy four years ago will be revisited. It also indicates that the Minister will do everything she can to distance herself from these difficult decisions.

The key question of course is how independent this body really will be? It has no representation from Community Health Councils for example nor is it clear what their role will be in the process. I am also unclear who will make the final decision. Will it be the Forum or the Minister?

Welsh Liberal Democrats of course will deal with each of the proposals on their own merits but we are also clear that the process has to be transparent and that there needs to be clear political accountability. That means that at the end of the day it is the Minister who retains responsibility for the performance of the health service and all the decisions that impact on that.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?