More than twenty different health organisations have joined forces to call for a complete overhaul of the National Health Service in Wales.

It comes after the worst ever performance figures for hospital emergency departments and the ambulance service were published, as well as warnings from doctors across the country that patients are dying in ambulances and waiting rooms due to overcrowding.

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The group of 22 organisations working across health and social care say Wales needs a single national body with a strategic oversight of the Welsh NHS in order to drive improvements in patient care and hold health boards to account.

They have launched the 'Ending the postcode lottery' campaign which calls for "an end to fragmented health services".

Those involved include the the Royal College of Physicians Wales, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson's UK and Cancer Research UK.

They claim that a single, independent national NHS Wales executive would be better placed to improve patient care and deliver on the aims of a healthier Wales.

The organisations are calling for an independent body with the right powers would have the authority to:

  • Support system transformation across health board boundaries
  • Play a national leadership role in service improvement
  • Collect and analyse data to improve performance
  • Improve patient outcomes across clinical specialties, public health and inequalities
  • Provide strong governance and accountability to ensure that the NHS in Wales gets the best value from its combined resources.

Dr Abrie Theron, chair of Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales, said: "I cannot see how the Welsh NHS is going to implement the changes needed for a Covid recovery without a NHS Executive team facilitating health boards working together as one for the patients of Wales."

The vice president of the Royal College of Physicians' Wales, Dr Olwen Williams, said: "First promised by the Welsh Government in 2018, we have seen almost no progress on the creation of an NHS Wales Executive to drive improvements in patient care.

"Doctors have repeatedly raised concerns with the Welsh Government about the very real postcode lottery of care which comes at an enormous human and financial cost.

"Regional health planning would allow for a more strategic approach – but this is not happening effectively in most of Wales and is certainly not happening quickly enough.

"A single national body with strategic oversight would be able to drive transformation more quickly and more efficiently. Let’s face it, the current system is not working."

Ann Tate, the Chief Executive of Cancer Research Wales, added: "In a developed nation like Wales, cancer inequalities are unacceptable. A person’s cancer outcomes should not depend on your postcode.

"A single, all-Wales NHS Executive should be able to oversee health boards and drive improvement, co-producing long-term patient-centred strategic transformation.

"To achieve this, the new NHS Wales Executive needs to be independent and empowered. ‘Ending the postcode lottery’ makes a strong case for the Welsh government delivering such a body."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our programme for government committed to establishing an NHS Executive in Wales to achieve the aims of Healthier Wales.

"We look forward to working with stakeholders and the NHS to further develop our plans on how we can deliver this."

These are the organisations to have pledged their support for the ‘Ending the postcode lottery’ campaign:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Wales
  • Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Wales
  • British Heart Foundation Cymru
  • British Red Cross
  • British Society for Heart Failure
  • Cancer Research Wales
  • Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales
  • Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine
  • Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine
  • Hospice UK
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Marie Curie
  • MS Society Cymru
  • Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • National Autistic Society Cymru
  • Parkinson’s UK Cymru
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England

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