11. The Professional Forum (PF)
Question: There are a number of important issues about the LHB Professional Forum on which this Consultation Paper seeks your views. Below are responses to two questions. It is important to note that at the National level, the WCVA Health and Social Care Network does not receive any direct financial support from WAG, apart from some officer time. In contrast, we as taxpayers actually fund Welsh civil servants to support the individual professional advisory bodies and the overall Professional Advisory Forum.
* Will the Professional Forum provide an appropriate vehicle for the generation of professional advice to the LHB Board?
How will the views of aspirant professional groups be heard and the voice of health care support workers - who will become an increasingly important part of the healthcare team?
* How should it operate to ensure maximum effectiveness?
The Welsh health professions have a range of advisory groups and a Welsh Advisory Forum. Both enjoy a publicly funded secretariat. But as Sir Ian Kennedy pointed out when considering the future of professional healthcare regulation "public participation in this process serves as a warranty that the public's interests are being safeguarded and as a reminder that the profession exists for the public" ('Learning from Bristol' 2001, page 405).
The potential of professional health regulation to help drive improved public service delivery has been much neglected in relevant Assembly Government policy statements. The latest consultation 'Inspection, Audit and Regulation in Wales' (2009) is no exception.
As a consequence of steady work undertaken in recent years, the Board of Welsh CHCs recently recommended to the Health and Social Services Minister that a Public and Patient Professional Regulation Advisory Group be supported. This is a neglected key component in striving to improve public protection/patient safety and the quality of healthcare in Wales.
The proposed functions and future areas of work are set out below, currently operate on a voluntary basis and are worthy of public support as we deliver the new NHS for Wales.
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