Helping you understand Welsh law

Health & health services

Health services are almost entirely devolved in Wales, which means the Welsh Government is ultimately responsible for the National Health Service here. The Welsh Ministers set the high level policy framework and targets for the health service in Wales, which are then delivered by the seven Local Health Boards and three NHS trusts in Wales.

The local health boards are directly funded by the Welsh Government to deliver the Welsh Ministers’ priorities on behalf of the people of Wales. Over recent years, there have been increasing differences in the way the four health services across the UK (England/Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland) are organised and operate on a day to day basis.

The National Assembly can pass laws relating to health and the health service in Wales, for example the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 created a a ‘soft opt-out’ system of consent for organ donation in Wales, while at the time the rest of the UK retained an ‘opt in’ system.

A small number of areas relating to health are still dealt with at a UK level. These include the regulation of medicines, genetics, fertilisation and embryology.

There are separate laws about the following services in Wales:

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