A Welsh Government process to appoint members of community health councils appears to have been delayed and may not be completed by the start of the next financial year.
The Leader of the Opposition has learned that government appointments to health watchdogs across Wales are nowhere near completion.
Questioning the First Minister in the National Assembly today, Andrew RT Davies called for a commitment that the process begins swiftly.
Community Health Councils are made up of local authority, third sector and Welsh Government appointments. These take place on annual basis.
A Welsh Government consultation document published in October 2012 (Patients’ Voice for Wales: Proposals following the review of Community Health Councils) stated that ‘properly functioning Community Health Councils are an important part of the fabric of the NHS in Wales’.
Speaking in relation to community health councils in the Assembly in January 2012, the First Minister said: ‘They have an important role. We recognise the valuable and important contribution that they make in the development of local health services.’
Mr Davies said:
“Health watchdogs are a force for good in our health service, yet it appears the First Minister couldn’t care less about them.
“It is my understanding that the appointments process he controls is severely delayed and health watchdogs could be left to operate with skeleton staff.
“The inability of Carwyn Jones to recognise this issue, let alone acknowledge the huge problems it could cause, is unacceptable.
“These annual appointments are crucial if we are to have properly functioning health watchdogs.
“I urge the First Minister to look again at this severe delay and confirm appointments will be made to ensure our health watchdogs can perform their role effectively, particularly regarding health board reconfigurations plans.”