The new Local Health Boards in Wales become fully operational today.
The seven LHBs, which were established in shadow form in June, will officially undertake the functions of the previous 22 Local Health Boards and seven NHS Trusts in Wales.
Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart AM has said that the new Boards signify “the doorstep of a new dawn”.
In an interview in today’s Western Mail the Minister said: “This is a massive reorganisation and we have had tremendous support from the service. The service recognises that there were too many organisations; they didn’t like the internal market – which will disappear totally – and they feel they can streamline services.
“In these difficult times anything that we can do to streamline that doesn’t affect frontline services is good news.”
In terms of mental health services, concerns about the status they will be given within the new LHBs have been raised.
A report published last week by the National Assembly for Wales’ Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee stated: “It is concerning that responsibility for mental health services in the new Local Health Boards is to be given to Vice Chairs and Directors who are also responsible for primary and community mental health services.”
The report added that: “The danger…is that primary and community services will demand most of their attention and that mental health will remain a Cinderella service.”
The report recommended that the Health and Social Services Minister keeps the role of Vice Chair in the new LHBs under review subject to evidence that mental health services are afforded the priority they merit by the new LHBs.
To directly access a PDF of the Inquiry into Community Mental Health Services please visit: http://www.assemblywales.org/cr-ld7697
The new LHBS are: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB, Aneurin Bevan LHB, Betsi Cadwaladr University LHB, Cardiff and Vale University LHB, Cwm Taf LHB, Hywel Dda LHB and Powys LHB.