Posted: Tue 28th Feb 2023

Betsi Cadwaladr: Health Minister defends sacking of board members overseeing troubled health board

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 28th, 2023

Wales Health Minister Eluned Morgan has defended her decision to sack members of the board scrutinising the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCUHB).

The health board – which provides healthcare services to 700,000 people in north Wales – was put back into special measures by the Welsh government on Monday due to “serious concerns” over its ‘performance, leadership, and culture.’

As part of the special measures announcement, the Welsh ​Government confirmed that health board Chair Mark Polin, Vice Chair Lucy Reid and independent Board members have stepped down. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a letter seen by our sister site Wrexham.com the independent members wrote to the First Minister stating they were resigning, stating:

“We are writing to express our sincere concerns about the future of health services in North Wales following this morning’s [Monday] meeting with the Minister when we were left with no option but to resign as Independent Members with immediate effect.”

Premature

The health board had been placed in special measures before, in 2015, which was de-escalated in November 2020.

The Welsh Conservatives said bringing the health board out of special measures in 2020 was premature as “it had not demonstrated sufficient progress to justify the move and seems to have been made out of political expediency, occurring just before the election.”

Monday’s decision to return BCUHB back to special measures follows a damning report from the Auditor General for Wales, which highlighted “deep-rooted issues” with working relationships at the most senior levels within the health board.

The Auditor General found that a breakdown in relationships within the health board’s executive team is compromising the organisation’s ability to tackle the numerous challenges it faces. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌ ‌

The report shows that fractured working relationships within the executive team are preventing the board from working effectively, leading to a lack of confidence from independent members in the team’s ability to tackle the issues.

It also notes that a heavy reliance on interim posts within the senior management structure is still evident, which points to ongoing difficulties in securing the senior leadership that the health board needs.

Dysfunctional incompetence

As part of the special measures, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has appointed a new Chair and several independent members to work alongside the executive team.

The Welsh Conservatives criticised the decision to take the board out of special measures, stating that it had not demonstrated sufficient progress to justify the move and seemed to have been made out of political expediency, occurring just before the election.

They also expressed a lack of confidence in the current executive team, calling them a “dysfunctional team”.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that the people in the north of Wales have suffered under the dysfunction, incompetence, and chaotic mess at the hands of the Labour Welsh government.

“The patients and staff of Betsi Cadwaladr deserve better from their government”, he said.

Resign? 

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales this morning (Tuesday 28th February), Eluned Morgan cited the Audit Wales report highlighting the board’s dysfunction and broken relationships as the trigger to intervene to ensure changes were made.

Ms Morgan clarified that as a government minister, she only had the power to intervene in relation to the chair and independent members, and not the executive.

She stated that the responsibility for the effective operation of the board lay with the independent members she had appointed and that she had delegated authority to them.

When asked whether she had questioned her position as Health Minister, Ms Morgan said that she questioned her responsibility every day, but emphasised that she was committed to focusing on the needs of the people in north Wales.

Ms Morgan said that she had appointed a new chair and three independent members, and that a group would be put in place to provide support and mentoring.

She also highlighted that while there were concerns around the standards of the service, daily there were tens of thousands of people receiving excellent care.

Ms Morgan dismissed the idea of splitting up the health board, stating that the focus needed to be on getting the best service for the people of north Wales.

The sacking of members of the board has caused controversy, with independent members claiming they had raised concerns with Ms Morgan, and that she had no grasp of the situation at the health board.

Ms Morgan responded that it was not her job to have a grasp of the situation and that the responsibility lay with the independent members she had appointed.

Asked if she was confident she will still be Health Minister when BCUHB finally comes out of special measures again, Ms Morgan didn’t respond.

 

 

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: [email protected]
Latest News

  • Buckley ‘eyesore’ set to be transformed into a 12-bed house of multiple occupation
  • Flintshire holiday park giant and Chester Zoo strengthen UK wildlife protection partnership
  • Search and Rescue team called out after group of youngsters get lost on Moel Famau

  • More...

    Buckley ‘eyesore’ set to be transformed into a 12-bed house of multiple occupation

    News

    Flintshire holiday park giant and Chester Zoo strengthen UK wildlife protection partnership

    News

    Search and Rescue team called out after group of youngsters get lost on Moel Famau

    News

    Buckley funeral directors conversion to flats denied by Flintshire Council

    News

    Cheshire and North Wales Alliance Police Dogs lead to arrests and drug seizures

    News

    Flintshire social club which poured its efforts into becoming net zero is reaping the rewards.

    News

    Deeside based Remsdaq’s “Cakes for a Cause” event raises hundreds for Neuroendocrine Cancer UK

    News

    Chester Zoo claims councillor disrupted national climate debate

    News

    North Wales festival launches search for future musical stars

    News