THE NEW NHS Executive in Wales will be made up of a "small, strengthened senior team" within the Welsh Government. 

Work to establish the NHS Executive was paused in 2020 to focus on the pandemic response.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has today (May 18) announced that the NHS Executive will be formed as a hybrid model, rather than a standalone organisation.

The Leader: Eluned MorganEluned Morgan

She said: "It will comprise a small, strengthened senior team within Welsh Government, bolstered and complemented by the bringing together of existing expertise and capacity from national bodies in the NHS, which will operate under a direct mandate from Welsh Government.    

"Setting up the NHS Executive is an essential part of making our health system fit for the future. Its central purpose will be to support the NHS to deliver improved quality of care to people throughout Wales, resulting in better and more equitable outcomes, access and patient experience, reduced variation and improvements in population health."

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However, Royal College of Physicians Cyrmu has slammed the latest announcement. 

Dr Olwen Williams, vice president for Wales at the Royal College of Physicians said: "This is very disappointing news. In November last year, we joined forces with more than 20 organisations in Wales to call for a single national body with strategic oversight of NHS Wales to drive improvements in patient care and hold health boards to account.

"In announcing a 'small, strengthened senior team within Welsh Government' instead of an independent NHS Wales Executive, the Minister for Health and Social Services has missed a huge opportunity to improve patient care and tackle the backlog."

Dr Williams added: "Various independent reviews have called for a clearer distinction between the strategic management of NHS Wales and the delivery of Welsh government priorities.

"Today’s announcement comes four years after the Welsh Government first committed to establishing an Executive. We cannot afford such slow progress: the NHS workforce is struggling to cope, thousands of patients are on growing waiting lists and performance targets are being missed daily – it’s not good enough to blame this lack of action on COVID-19, when the pandemic didn’t begin until early 2020. At least now the decision has been made and hopefully change will follow. Doing nothing is not an option."

The Leader: Medical staff on a Covid ward

The Welsh Government claims the the NHS Executive will provide "strong leadership and strategic direction" – enabling, supporting and directing the NHS in Wales to "transform" clinical services in line with national priorities and standards.

The Welsh Government said it will:

  • Strengthen national leadership and support for quality improvement;
  • Provide more central direction to ensure a consistent and equitable approach to national and regional planning based on outcomes;
  • Enable stronger performance management arrangements, including capacity to challenge and support organisations that are not operating as expected.
  • Bring together existing national capacity into a single delivery and accountability structure, operating to a mandate agreed by Ministers. 

Ms Morgan added: "Under these new arrangements statutory accountability mechanisms will not change. All NHS organisations are already directly accountable to Ministers and the Welsh Government and will continue to be. I will continue to set priorities, targets and outcome measures for the NHS, which will feed into the mandate for the NHS Executive to deliver with the wider NHS.  

"The NHS Executive will provide additional capacity at a national level to oversee and support delivery of these priorities."