Minister announces moves to improve NHS Wales services and transparency
Health Minister Eluned Morgan has announced that two new legal duties to improve services, openness and transparency in the Welsh NHS have come into force today.
The first, the duty of candour, is a legal requirement for all NHS organisations in Wales and requires them to be open and transparent with people if something goes wrong and they experience harm while receiving healthcare.
Under the duty, health boards and NHS trusts must apologise and support people while an investigation into the incident happens and, importantly, ensure incidents are investigated through the Putting Things Right process and these are used to help prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
The second duty, the duty of quality, will apply to all NHS bodies and to Welsh Ministers to ensure decision making actively considers improvement in the quality of health services and outcomes for people in Wales.
The duty also includes new health and care quality standards.
It will work alongside the NHS, local authorities and volunteer organisations to give people across Wales a say in the planning and delivery of services locally, regionally and nationally and ensure their views are represented.
Eluned Morgan said: “Everyone in the NHS works hard to provide high quality, safe and compassionate care for all. However, even when we do our best, people may sometimes experience harm.
“These new measures will ensure quality, safety and transparency is at the heart of all that we do, help continue to drive improvements in health and social care, and ultimately, lead to better outcomes for all.”
Nicola Williams, Executive Director Nursing, AHP & Health Science, Velindre University NHS Trust, added: “Staff across the NHS in Wales strive to always provide the best possible care and treatments. However, there are occasions when patients experience harm as a result of care / treatments provided.
“These duties will help to further develop a culture of trust and openness, so that people can feel confident in the care they receive and be assured that improvements will be made to prevent such harm happening again.
“It is important that everyone working in the NHS and people receiving care continue to report any incidents or harm that has occurred so these can be investigated openly, and improvements made as quickly as possible.”
A new citizen voice body, which will strengthen the representation of people in health and social care services and help them to influence and shape those services, is also being introduced form today (3 April).
Llais, a new independent national body, will replace and build on the work of Wales’ seven community health councils.
Professor Medwin Hughes, Llais’ Chair said: “Through Llais’ activities, we want to build a picture of what works well and where services need to get better, making sure that the views of the people of Wales are represented in important decisions.
“Our aim is to be a truly representative and people-centred body. We believe that everyone in Wales should be able to voice their opinion and share their experiences easily and in a way that influences real change.”
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