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Written Statement - The People’s NHS – a ‘compact’ with the people of Wales in relation to their health and health services

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The Welsh Government believes strongly an open discussion will help create better health and better services.
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Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services 

Together for Health sets out my vision for the NHS in Wales over the coming years and confirms my commitment to providing health services which match the best in the world.  To achieve this, I firmly believe we all have a part to play – Welsh Government, the NHS and the people of Wales.  

Together for Health indicated the intention to develop a ‘compact’ with the people of Wales in relation to their health and health services.  I see this compact as consisting of two parts - an evolving agreement about the responsibilities of the Government, the NHS and people across Wales and an ongoing discussion about how people can play a greater part in managing their own health and improving health services.  On 1st August 2012, I issued a consultation paper to begin the process entitled The People’s NHS, for consultation.   The consultation will run until 24 October 2012.

The process will not be about producing a glossy document but about having meaningful discussions involving the Government, the NHS and the public.  It’s about listening to what the people using our NHS have to say on what works well, what does not work so well and extending opportunities to influence services for the better.  In addition, I want to initiate discussion on responsibilities at a Welsh Government level, an NHS level and an individual level and look at how all these different players can help people play a more effective role in protecting, promoting and managing their own health.  

As part of this consultation process, my officials are talking to and meeting with various individuals and organisations including Community Health Councils, Local Health Boards and groups in touch with and representing the public, as well as supporting a small number of focus groups across Wales, to find out what the people of Wales expect from their NHS.     
As I have stated, this is the start of the process.  It will not end when the consultation process has been completed.  We will need to ensure systems are in place to allow dialogue to continue so peoples’ experiences and views are captured and listened to. The Welsh Government and the NHS in turn will need to demonstrate how services are changing and improving, providing better outcomes for patients and families wherever and whenever possible.  
This consultation provides an initial opportunity for people across Wales to have their say on how health services could and should be developed and an opportunity to discuss how we can all take more of a responsibility for our own health and others.