The Welsh health minister, Lesley Griffiths, will explain Labour’s plans for the future of NHS Wales today, in a statement to AMs. The local health boards are in the process of finalising proposals for reorganising services before plans are reviewed by the National Clinical Forum.

Conservative assembly leader Andrew RT Davies said: “I want to hear a cast-iron guarantee from the minister herself that no district general hospital will be downgraded by the Welsh Labour government. It is absolutely crucial that the network is protected and patients’ needs are put first.”

Helen Birtwhistle, the director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said recently: “If the NHS continues to do the same things in the same way but with less money then it will fail. Hospitals will always be important for some services, but...we have to start getting beyond that hospitals are the be all and end all.”

However, a Welsh government spokeswoman told reporters: “As we have made repeatedly clear, district general hospitals will continue to be district general hospitals and are an important part of the NHS of the future.

“The ageing population is a driving factor to reform the entire health care system. We need improvements in community care and the treatment of long-term conditions locally to reduce the need for emergency hospital admission.

“We have no plans to downgrade district general hospitals - however, we know a very small number of specialist services need to be delivered differently to ensure best outcomes.”

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for National Health Executive an essential guide to health service managers offering a wide view of healthcare news, views and opinions