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Written - Independent Inquiry To Look Into The Processes On Consultation And Implementation Of The Reconfiguration Of General Surgical Services In Carmarthenshire

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Brian Gibbons, Minister for Health and Social Services

On the 1 February 2007, I announced the setting up of an Independent Inquiry to look into the processes on consultation and implementation of the Reconfiguration of General Surgical Services in Carmarthenshire, in particular the decision to close emergency surgery services at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire (the Surgical Services Review).  

The matter was further debated in a Minority Party Debate on the afternoon of the 6 February 2007 when, amongst other things, it was resolved I should publish the Terms of Reference; these are provided below.

On the 19 March 2007, the National Assembly for Wales awarded a contract to undertake this work to GoodwinHannah Ltd; Dr Neil Goodwin, a director of GoodwinHannah Ltd will be leading the Inquiry.  

Dr Goodwin is a leadership consultant and academic, well qualified to undertake this review, having previously been involved in:

  • pursuing local strategic change, innovation and major capital investment for numerous NHS organisations;
  • representing the NHS in a ministerial led review of public services leadership; and
  • acting as a member of ministerial advisory groups for pathology services and patient choice.

Dr Goodwin will be starting work on this project immediately and his Final Report will be available for the incoming Administration.

The Terms of Reference

The Inquiry will:

(i) Consider the conduct and actions of key stakeholders during the Surgical Services Review, in particular:

  • The Working Group set up by Carmarthenshire LHB in autumn 2005 (comprising Carmarthenshire Community Health Council, the Ambulance Service, Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, Swansea NHS Trust, representatives from Primary Care, Carmarthenshire County Council, the National Public Health Service, and representatives from the Voluntary Sector and the Local Community);
  • Carmarthenshire NHS Trust (the Trust);
  • Carmarthenshire Local Health Board (the LHB);
  • Carmarthenshire Community Health Council (the CHC);
  • Carmarthenshire County Council (the Council); and
  • Welsh Ambulance Service Trust;

(ii) Consider compliance with Section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 and Regulation 18 of the Community Health Council Regulations 2004;

(iii) Include an examination of any contribution officials from the Department for Health and Social Services made in the decision to close emergency surgery services at Prince Philip Hospital;

(iv) Consider:

  • how the proposals for the changes to the provision of emergency surgical services at Prince Philip Hospital were formulated; 
  • how the process of consultation upon these proposals was conducted; 
  • how the outcome of that consultation was determined, including the role of the CHC; and 
  • how plans for implementation of that outcome were formulated;

(v) Establish whether, as part of the Surgical Services Review, a consultation exercise took place with adjoining Local Health Boards/Trusts, in particular Neath Port Talbot Local Health Board, Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, Swansea Local Health Board, and Swansea NHS Trust;

(vi) Review the operation of WHC (2004) 084: SHAPING HEALTH SERVICES LOCALLY: Guidance for Involving and Consulting on Changes to Health Services (the Guidance), with particular reference to its application to the consultation process and implementation of the Surgical Services Review;

(vii) Identify any areas of conflict between the operation of the Guidance and the effective conduct of the Surgical Services Review consultation;

(viii) Make specific proposals for amendments to the Guidance, if required, and if considered appropriate, to legislation, to overcome any problems identified;

(ix) Report its findings and recommendations to the Minister for Health and Social Services by way of a written Report as soon as is practical in line with the Assembly Plenary resolution made on the 6 February 2007, to allow the response to be considered in an Assembly Plenary meeting during this current Assembly term.

The Welsh Assembly Government will publish the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations.