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Probe launched into Welsh NHS body

27 September 2007

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The Welsh Assembly has announced that a controversial NHS body responsible for specialist services is to be reviewed.

Health minister Edwina Hart said the public needs to have confidence in Health Commission Wales (HCW) after it was the focus of severe patient criticism.

Some people claim they have been denied treatments recommended by their doctors, such as new cancer drugs.

The primary objective of the HCW is to ensure that Wales gets the maximum possible benefit from Specialist Services Commissioning.

But Mrs Hart said HCW decisions must be based on evidence, and made in a way that patients can understand.

She said the review will look at the way HCW makes decisions and hears appeals, but added there has to be “more transparency” in the system.

She said: “Dealing in this highly contentious area it is, perhaps, unsurprising that concerns are raised in public about the basis on which some decisions about treatments for individual patients requiring very specialist care have been made.”

And she warned other bodies in her department may come under closer scrutiny.

“We have to make sure now that all organisations are fit for purpose,” she said.

Mrs Hart also announced a separate review into the way the Agenda for Change pay shake-up for 70,000 NHS staff was implemented.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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