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BASW Cymru welcomes the introduction of the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) (Wales) Bill

BASW Cymru welcomes the introduction of the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) (Wales) Bill by Vaughan Gethin AM, Minister for Health and Social Services.

Provision of healthcare is part of a social contract and key to that contract is citizen voice. The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 puts citizen voice and control at the heart of the legislation and we must have mechanisms to ensure this is realised throughout all of health and social care.

The need to elevate the voice of citizens was a unifying thread in the recent Parliamentary Review of health and social care and was embedded within ‘A Healthier Wales’. Citizen voice must, however, have the power to shape what matters to them, to scrutinise, challenge and hold those in authority to account.

The recent scandal in maternity services in Cwm Taff is a stark reminder of what happens when citizen voice is not heard, and duty of candour falls far short of what should be acceptable.

Whilst recognising the excellent work undertaken by the Community Health Councils (CHC’s) over many decades, it must be the right approach to create a body that integrates the citizen voice of social care alongside that of health, if we are to realise the ambitions set out in ‘A  Healthier Wales’.

It’s important that any of the powers of the CHC’s to scrutinise, challenge and hold to account, is not diluted in legislation. Along with robust accountability mechanisms, there is a need to critically examine the workplace cultures where poor practice and lack of candour, leads to harm.

Allison Hulmes

National Director for Wales

BASW Cymru

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