Questions followed on pay restraint, whistleblowing, regulation and more, from an audience eager to challenge the health secretary on issues with practical and emotional importance to them.
Addressing leaders for the first time following the general election, he mirrored the tone of Jim Mackey's Confed17 speech, praising leaders for their hard work and progress, but being frank that tough times still lie ahead.
“What Wales is doing today, the world will be doing tomorrow,” so said Vaughan Gething AM, quoting the United Nation’s view on its health and care services.
The Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport was at Confed17 to share Wales’ devolved approach to health and social care, to highlight commonalities with England and to call for greater collaboration to ensure a stable NHS workforce for the UK.
Devolution has allowed more appropriate choices for our own needs and we’ll explore what more we can do, he said. Devolution is a growing feature of UK and involves the language of choices, he said. And choices made locally can be more appropriate to local circumstances.
However, Wales hasn’t always made the right choices, he confessed. “There’s rarely a perfect answer, and I haven’t always made a perfect decision, but it’s not always right or wrong, it’s about different answers,” said Mr Gething.
After outlining Wales’ successes he emphasised the importance of sharing learning between Wales and England, and called for a different approach from Westminster to avoid unacceptable outcomes in health and care across the UK. He signed off with a call to work together to create better services for staff to work within, and for the public to take part in and receive.
Watch Vaughan’s speech in full
Reflections on a world-leading health service
Prof Sir Bruce Keogh wrapped up day two at Confed17 in perfect style, providing his observations on the NHS and reflections on his time the national medical director.
Charting the many, many achievements of the NHS since its inception, he remarked that good things can be borne out of significant hardship.
Celebrating the NHS, he also identified areas for improvement. In the face of relentless pressures, "there is a risk that we have shifted to a focus on risk aversion and blame."
He also called for more to be done to support senior leaders, raising concerns over the 'inadequate' support they receive. "Why is it that the life expectancy of chief executives in the acute sector is two and a half years," he asked.
Referring to the NHS' response to recent terrorist attacks, he said that of the 121 patients admitted to hospital, there were no deaths, testament to the hard work and planning of emergency services and the benefits of major trauma networks.
"This is the NHS at its best when you need it."
View his full speech, which closed our final day in Liverpool.
Take a look at our Twitter highlights from day two.
Thank you, see you next year!
Thank you to all of our sponsors for their support of this year's event. We look forward to seeing you and all our delegates again next year in Manchester, for Confed18.