Independent Panel To Advise NHS On Specialist Treatment

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A new independent panel made up of members of the general public will be set up to decide which specialist treatments will be provided by the NHS, Health Minister Edwina Hart announced today.

The recommendation for such a body forms part of the conclusions of the review, commissioned by the Health Minister last October, into the role and remit of Health Commission Wales (HCW). The review was undertaken by Professor Mansel Aylward CB, chair of the Wales Centre for Health.

Edwina Hart said the new panel would increase patient and public engagement in what was a difficult decision-making process.

She said:

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"Undoubtedly, commissioning treatment for individual patients rests at the cutting edge of medical science, but these decisions also draw on issues of morality and our shared understanding of what the NHS can be expected to provide as well as those of medicine and money.

"I am not one of those people who believes that lay people cannot be trusted to be involved in these sorts of decisions. I am convinced that substantially increased engagement by members of the lay public in these profoundly difficult decisions will lead to improved transparency and public confidence in both the processes and its outcomes.

"I have therefore asked Professor Aylward and his team to provide me with further advice, consulting widely with patient groups, clinicians, Community Health Councils and others in order to turn this recommendation into a set of detailed working proposals."

The review also recommends a system of planning and contracting for specialist services which is:

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