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Health Minister shows a remarkable lack of curiosity over National Clinical Forum

This week I criticised the Health Minister for not being in control of her department after it was revealed that she sent Welsh Government officials to observe NCF meetings but didn’t seem to know what was going on in these meetings.

It has been revealed that an independent report by the NCF criticising changes in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) was rewritten following intervention by the chief executive, Marry Burrows.

There are three Welsh Government officials who are ‘observers’ on the National Clinical Forum. Despite this, when asked by Kirsty Williams, the Health Minister responded that she was not informed about the changes to report and hadn’t asked her officials for an appraisal.

The Health Minister shows a remarkable lack of curiosity when she sends officials to observe meetings but doesn’t know what goes on in them.

What is the point of the Welsh Labour Government having ‘observers’ if they aren’t even going to report back significant information to the Minister? Yes, the National Clinical Forum must remain independent, but there is no excuse for the Minister not to be informed when such major alterations are being made to a so-called ‘independent’ report. We are increasingly seeing a Health Minister that is not on top of her brief.

We are in the midst of the most controversial reorganisation of the NHS since the National Assembly was formed. There is huge public concern and interest. We are in need of a Welsh government that handles these issues with care and openness to ensure we find the right solution. Instead, we have discovered today that the Health Minister wasn’t even aware of this significant issue.

Over the past few days, senior executives at the BBC have had to resign because they didn’t know what was going on and they failed to get a grip on their brief. Accountability in public life is paramount but this Welsh Labour Government seems to think that is above that.

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