Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
The NHS Finance (Wales) Act 2014 and the NHS Wales Planning Framework marked a new approach to planning in the Welsh health service, requiring health boards and NHS trusts to set out how resources will be used over a three-year period to:
- Address areas of population health need and improve health outcomes;
- Improve the quality of care;
- Ensure best value from resources.
The Welsh Goverment has strengthened the planning arrangements over the last 12 months to reflect lessons learned from the first year of this new planning regime. A plan will only be approved following robust, board-level scrutiny and approval and when I, as Minister, am satisfied that it meets the requirements set out in the framework.
The approval of a plan does not abdicate health board or NHS trust board accountability for the delivery of services nor does it prejudice the outcome of any due process required to implement the plan. Any service reconfiguration needed must be carried out in line with legislation and our existing guidance, for example, and any application for capital investment will be subject to the normal business case approval processes.
Following a robust scrutiny process on the 2015-16 integrated medium-term plans, I have approved the following five – Cwm Taf and Aneurin Bevan university health boards; Powys teaching Health Board, Public Health Wales and Velindre NHS Trust.
Two organisations – Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff and Vale university health boards – will continue to further develop and test the detail of their plans. As Members will recall, during the passage of the Bill, I provided assurances that appropriate checks would be put in place to ensure plans are both robust and deliverable.
The remaining three NHS organisations have concluded they are unable to submit robust integrated medium term plans at this point in time.
The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has been through significant changes in the last 12 months following the appointment of a chief ambulance commissioner and the creation of the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee. This financial year will be a key one in the transformation of the service and there is evidence of improvement in local planning and delivery. I expect the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee to continue to work with WAST to support the development of the integrated medium term plan for 2016/17.
Hywel Dda University Health Board has demonstrated considerable progress in planning over the course of the last year and a coherent plan has emerged under the new leadership team. It will continue to work on developing its plans over the course of this financial year.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board faces a number of service and performance challenges, which require ongoing support. The development of a clear and robust plan will form part of this.
Each of these three organisations will agree a one-year plan, which reflects key deliverables for this year and milestones for the ongoing development of their medium-term plans.
Taken together, these decisions demonstrate the ongoing and necessary rigour in operating the arrangements set out in the NHS Wales Planning Framework and the NHS Finance (Wales) Act 2014.