23rd January 2014 Written by Skills for Health

Blue skies, not a cloud in sight and sunshine all around, Cardiff’s weather set the scene for this year’s Welsh NHS Confederation Conference which took place on 16 January at the Cardiff City Stadium. Skills for Health were delighted to participate again in this year’s conference which encompassed the theme: “From Rhetoric to Reality – NHS Wales in 10 years’ time.”

Image: Skills for Health Attend the Welsh NHS Confederation ConferenceThe conference opened at 9:00am sharp with a warm welcome from the Chair of the Welsh NHS Confederation, Chris Martin. Following this, Professor Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health & Social Services for Wales, delivered a powerful speech addressing the need for “prudent medicine”, prioritising resources on proven care, within the Welsh NHS. Professor Drakeford urged that “change is not a choice in the Welsh NHS” and that the “destiny of the Welsh NHS lies in the skills, commitment and experience of the entire NHS workforce”.  Professor Drakeford closed stating: “the essential principle in NHS Wales is to approach a co-productive principle; one must reinforce people’s strengths and realise their abilities”.

Professor Drakeford’s speech not only articulated the need for a changed Welsh NHS, but also provided a vision of what this should look like in the future; a running theme which was addressed in keynote speeches throughout the day.  In addition to the speeches, delegates were invited to attend various workshops which allowed for the focus on areas more relevant to them. Workshops included: “The clinical transformation of ambulance services in Wales”, “Success factors of co-production”, “Addressing the impact of our ageing workforce” and “Crossing boundaries – the delivery of integrated care.” We were especially excited about attending “Success factors of co-production”.  Fantastic and motivating examples illustrating co-production were presented in particular from Age Cymru and Cwm Taf NHS Trust.  Age Cymru and Cwm Taf NHS Trust, demonstrated a great project which highlighted the effects of working together with Gwanwyn to encourage people with dementia to draw and paint which increased their confidence.

Another key highlight was the networking (and tasty lunch) which took place in between speeches and the workshops.  We were able to mingle with delegates and discuss our core mission and how Skills for Health could potentially help achieve a more efficient organisation. Furthermore, we were able to speak with other sponsors and learn more about their organisations and the great work they do.

The Welsh NHS Confederation Conference was definitely worth waking up at 5am for. Not only were we able to meet inspirational people and listen to inspirational speeches, but we also learned a lot about the vision for the Welsh NHS in 10 years’ time; about what obstacles need to be first overcome to reach this vision and how an efficient, co-productive and reformed workforce will enable the Welsh NHS to achieve their goal for better healthcare in the future.

Anne Clarke, director of Skills for Health for Wales says:

“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and listen to interesting and engaging speeches surrounding healthcare in Wales. Thank you very much to the Welsh NHS Confederation for putting on such a great event.”