Charter for International Health Partnerships in Wales

Reciprocal Partnership Working

For mutual benefit and the achievement of specified goals, it is essential to have a collaborative relationship between two or more parties based on trust, equality, joint respect and understanding.

RW1. Improving Lives and Do No Harm

Charter Guidance

Following the NHS Values and Standards of Behaviour Framework, prudent use of resources, diligence and duty of care will be applied when involved in a partnership, based on the principle of doing no harm. The central purpose of international health partnerships is to improve the lives, health and wellbeing of those involved. Activity which does not fulfil these aspirations or goes against them must cease immediately.

To ensure the economic and social implications on health are considered, the Social Determinants of Health model should be applied. NHS Wales’ Values and Standards of Behaviour framework is the framework on which the NHS in Wales is modelled. Coupled with model standing orders and standing financial instructions, this forms the key elements of the governance and accountability framework for the NHS in Wales.

The core values that underpin the NHS in Wales are:

  • Putting quality and safety above all else: providing high value evidence based care for our patients at all times
  • Integrating improvement into everyday working and eliminating harm, variation and waste
  • Focusing on prevention, health improvement and inequality as key to sustainable development, wellness and wellbeing for future generations of the people of Wales
  • Working in true partnerships with partners and organisations and with our staff
  • Investing in our staff through training and development, enabling them to influence decisions and providing them with the tools, systems and environment to work safely and effectively

More information on the Framework can be found at the NHS Wales website.

RW2. Respect, Fairness and Equity

Charter Guidance

Mutual respect of partners will be fostered with all parties of the partnership on an equal footing. Partners should consider priorities and aspirations, taking them into account when designing and delivering the project or programme. Communication should be clear and regular through mutually agreed means.

Where there is a breakdown in communication, reasonable steps should be taken to rebuild the relationship. No partner or individual involved in the partnership will be discriminated against or disadvantaged. Each partner will be treated with equal respect and importance.

Each international partnership differs, and each has the potential for things to go wrong in a wide range of ways, as with any type of partnership working. Memorandums of Understands or Partnership arrangements can help to manage expectations and set out guidelines to help ensure good partnership working.

Spending time with colleagues to develop relationships and trust is important.

RW3. Managing Risk in Professional Travel

Charter Guidance

Organisations and international health partnerships have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of those travelling internationally for work purposes. Managing risk must comprise of documents including a risk assessment, basic country information including emergency contact details and basic language tips. Appropriate travel insurance must be organised for those who are travelling for work purposes as well as travel and accommodation arrangements.

It is the responsibility of the health professional not to engage in any risky behaviour when on international placements.

Travel insurance should be organised for those travelling internationally for work purposes. The type of travel insurance required will vary depending on the location to which the person is travelling. Risk assessments will help determine the level of risk posed to the individual(s) and the appropriate level of cover required.

A guide on travel insurance can be found below.

THET Travel Insurance Guide

For up to date information on vaccinations and other health risks, please visit the country profiles at National Health Travel Network and Centre

For up to date information on travel security, please visit the Foreign Office 

RW4. Health Systems in Developing Countries

Charter Guidance

Partnerships with health systems in developing countries must not offer replacement health care; they should strive to build capacity within the existing health services through sustainable means, which must be implemented with support and consideration for existing in-country health systems.

Where the partnerships are time limited around specific goals, the goals must be clearly identified prior to the full initiation of the project. The benefits of the international health partnership must be intended to extend beyond the lifetime of the partnerships, with succession planning in place.

Guidance on in-country health system policies can be found from a varity of sources. An example is given below for available sources of information for Uganda:

In-Country Health System

Ministry of Health – Republic of Uganda

WHO Country Office

UN Data

WHO Country Statistics

RW5. Identify Opportunities

Charter Guidance

In order to ensure the best opportunities are capitalised in Wales, health organisations will horizon scan to look for opportunities to draw in funding and work collaboratively to increase the potential of successful bids. Horizon scanning for opportunities can take many forms. Information regarding organisations of interest and funding opportunities can be found in the Partnership and Funding sections.

In terms of medical interventions, horizon scanning aims to identify in advance finance or treatments that are likely to become available on the NHS, that may have significant implications for clinical practice or service design. Horizon scanning should also identify potential disinvestments by reviewing evidence on an ongoing basis. More information on this can be found on the Public Health Wales website.

RW6. Diaspora

Charter Guidance

Diaspora organisations can provide Welsh organisations with deep insight into their countries of origin, and help in the development of projects. Diasporas should be engaged to build insight into working with the partner country. Wales has a rich diaspora population with many formally organised groups of professionals who may be able to assist or have an interest in the health agenda.

Diaspora groups include:

Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Panel (SSAP)

The SSAP recently completed some work mapping diaspora groups and individuals who are involved in international development work. The findings from a Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel report represent the voice of over 540 individuals from the Sub-Sahara Diaspora Communities in Wales. The map below shows diaspora groups by country.