Elected health commissioners would be introduced to the Welsh NHS under a Conservative administration.

The party hopes elected health commissioners would “usher in a new era of openness and transparency”.

The health commissioners would replace local health boards, and would be directly accountable to the public.

They would be responsible for the allocation of resources, setting budgets and identifying local priorities.

The Welsh Conservatives claim that the current system encourages “patronage” because “the Welsh government is free to appoint key decision makers onto local health boards”.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew Davies, said: “In recent years communities across Wales have felt powerless to influence the decisions which have been made about health services in their areas.

“Elected health commissioners will put the patient voice at the heart of decision making in the NHS, transferring decision making over health services from central government and into the hands of the people.

“Directly elected health commissioners, with a mandate from the communities they serve, will be able to reflect local priorities when bringing about the transformation our NHS needs to be fit for the 21st century.”

Mr Davies said that health commissioners would “usher in a new era of openness and transparency – a culture change absolutely necessary to ensure that fundamental issues within the governance of the Welsh NHS are addressed”.

The announcement coincides with the publication of findings from a survey of more than 3,000 health service users across Wales.

The Conservatives surveyed 3,000 health service users across Wales and found that 60 per cent believed that NHS performance had declined in the last five years.