Strong and effective social partnership is a key principle of this Government’s way of working. Within the NHS Wales, we know maintaining a strong focus on social partnership enhances the experience of NHS Wales both for its workforce and for those who use its services.
During our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, this commitment to social partnership has never been more important. We have built on our established relationships to enable us to deliver new ways of working and service delivery as part of the Covid-19 response whilst protecting the health safety and wellbeing of the workforce. This has required all social partners to work together in new, more flexible and responsive ways whilst retaining a focus on our core values.
Our practical commitment to social partnership has been demonstrated across the system. I am meeting regularly with health and care trade unions and stakeholders. The Wales Partnership Forum (WPF) Business Committee has been meeting weekly to shape our Covid-19 response and find solutions to key issues and concerns from the workforce. Social partners have also taken part in technical briefings on some of the most challenging aspects of our Covid-19 response, such as the supply of PPE and developing our testing capacity. There has also been an extraordinary meeting of the WPF to provide a broad overview of the Covid-19 response in Wales across our social partners. NHS organisations across Wales are also using their local social partnership structures to support their organisational response to these exceptional times.
The Welsh Partnership Forum has developed a Joint Statement on partnership working which recommits employers, trade unions and Government to maintaining strong social partnership across Wales. I am pleased to welcome this statement and endorse its content wholeheartedly.