University-based Bevan Commission sets out radical new proposals for improving quality in NHS Wales

A new discussion paper from the Bevan Commission, which has its headquarters and Academy for Health Leadership and Innovation located within Swansea University’s School of Management, at the Bay Campus, has been published this week – setting out radical new proposals for improving quality in NHS Wales.

School of ManagementThe paper, entitled ‘Achieving Profound and Sustainable Improvement in Quality in NHS Wales’, argues that further, far reaching and more radical actions are required to achieve the full potential of the health care system if it is to meet the objectives of Prudent Health Care by improving the quality, consistency and delivery of healthcare across Wales.

The Bevan Commission states that since the creation of NHS there have been many attempts to improve the quality and consistency of health care. However, instances of inconsistent and sub-optimal care are still evident in Wales, as elsewhere.

Great potential exists to improve the quality and consistency of the care being provided and the Bevan Commission has set out its thinking to help move this forward.

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2017), entitled ‘Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health’, found that a significant share of health spending in many countries is at best ineffective and worst wasteful. The same is likely to be true for Wales.

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Chair of the Bevan Commission, said: “The paper is offered to promote further discussion and dialogue to seek alternative and if necessary, more radical approaches to achieve profound and irreversible improvement in quality in NHS Wales.”

The Bevan Commission proposes that the time is ripe to examine whether this will only be achieved through the introduction of a service wide quality management system, such as the International Standards Organisation (ISO) or other similar systems used by large organisations almost universally outside of the health care sector.

Helen Howson, Director of the Bevan Commission, said: “Wales should lead the way to achieve sustained, high quality prudent health care by adopting an open and consistent Quality Management System.”


The Bevan Commission was originally established in 2008 to advise the Minister of Health on promoting health and health services improvement in Wales. The Bevan Commission is a group of international experts to help ensure that Wales can draw on best practice from across the world while remaining true to the principles of the NHS as established by Aneurin Bevan. The Commission is not a formal part of the NHS in Wales; it is an impartial, authoritative and independent advisory panel to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (along with other Welsh Government Ministers as appropriate).  Visit www.bevancommission.org.