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At a time when expertise is spread too thin, workload has ramped up immensely and rota gaps and vacancies are putting unsustainable pressures on our hospitals, I informed colleagues at this year’s Welsh consultants conference that the Welsh Government’s recent Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care must be actioned. Change is needed urgently.
In other Western European countries, more is spent per head on healthcare - is Wales actually receiving a fair share of funding with the UK? Some of the key points that were raised at the conference was that there should be greater acceptance that some provision may need to be rationed and that non-emergency services don’t need to be provided seven days a week.
We enjoyed robust discussions around recruitment and retention and the benefits of giving doctors greater autonomy; access to portfolio careers; increasing the number of medical students and training places; improving job planning and pay; paying off tuition fees in return for a commitment to stay; and improving the way vacancies are advertised.
Mr Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services made a guest appearance and discussed winter pressures and valuing NHS staff in Wales. He talked about the need to remake and reform the NHS and how having ‘one seamless care’ system is the vision but delivering it is a challenge.
We also discussed medical engagement – It’s particularly important within the NHS as the service adapts to challenges and increasing demand and it is crucial that individuals are given the time outside of their normal working hours to enhance the performance of the organisation. Delegates heard about a successful peer mentoring programme in Hywel Dda University health board which has helped improve medical engagement. Pressures within the NHS are widely acknowledged, but time and resource must be found so that staff can have time and space to engage within their job roles.
My thanks to all of the consultants who attended the conference. A selection of photos from conference can be viewed here:https://www.flickr.com/photos/bmacymruwales/albums/72157663699204437
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