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Review of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales announced by Health Minister


An independent review of Wales’ healthcare inspectorate will be carried out with a view to introducing new legislation to strengthen its remit, Health Minister Mark Drakeford today announced.

The review of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) will be led by Ruth Marks, the former older people’s commissioner for Wales.


HIW is the independent inspectorate and regulator of healthcare in Wales. It is responsible for reviewing and inspecting NHS and independent healthcare organisations to provide assurance for patients; the public; the Welsh Government and healthcare providers that services are safe and of good quality.


Following the review, the Welsh Government will publish a Green Paper, outlining proposals for new legislation to secure a strengthened, independent inspection and regulatory remit for HIW before the end of the Assembly term in 2016. 


It is proposed that an NHS Quality Bill will be introduced early in the next Assembly to streamline and strengthen existing legislation regarding the quality of healthcare in Wales, this will include the roles and responsibilities of HIW.


The Health Minister made the announcement in response to a National Assembly health committee inquiry report into the work of HIW.


Speaking in the National Assembly, Professor Drakeford said:


"The most fundamental feature of HIW is that it is an independent inspectorate - independent of the NHS and independent of the Welsh Government.


"Ten years after its creation, and now with a very different set of legislative powers available to the National Assembly, the time is right for a fundamental review of HIW to reform, develop and improve its regulatory and inspection functions.


"In the decade of its operation HIW has, undoubtedly, acquired a series of additional responsibilities. The review will consider whether its remit is, now, sufficiently coherent and look for ways in which it can be streamlined and strengthened.


"Because a review on this basis could well lead to legislation, I believe that it is important that such a review should, in itself, include a strong independent element.


"I'm pleased to be able to announce that Ruth Marks, former older people’s commissioner for Wales and author of the Dignified Care? review, has agreed to provide independent oversight of the review.


"The work will begin, without any undue delay. It will need to be comprehensive and to secure the confidence of all relevant stakeholders.


"However, if the review identifies any issues or lessons which can be learned from other regulators in the UK in the short term, we will not wait for any changes in legislation to do so.”

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