Betsi: North Wales health board still without a new chief executive despite an “intensive search”
The quest for a new chief executive remains unresolved for the North Wales health board, despite an ‘intensive’ search, according to BBC Wales.
A recruitment campaign did not result in troubled Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board appointing a new £225,000 a year chief executive and a further intensive search will recommence in the coming months.
Earlier this year, concerns over patient safety led the Welsh government to place the health board back under special measures.
The previous chief executive, Jo Whitehead, retired in autumn 2022, and since then, the board has been dealing with leadership instability.
In February 2023, an Audit Wales report highlighted the “dysfunctionality and factions” within the board’s senior executive team, pointing out a clear lack of unity.
The report emphasised, “clear and deep-seated fractures within the executive team that are preventing that team from working effectively.”
In response, Health Minister Eluned Morgan asked the non-executive directors on the health board to resign and placed the organisation under special measures.
“A new chief executive is key to improving the performance of the NHS in north Wales,” said Morgan. “The new chair will lead the recruitment of an individual with the necessary vision, leadership, and drive to restore the confidence of the workforce and the public.”
Further controversy arose when a report by EY revealed improper accounting practices within the health board, suggesting that finance officials had deliberately entered incorrect details into their accounts.
Earlier this year, efforts to fill the critical leadership void began, with the chief executive position being advertised with a salary range of £208,000 to £225,000 per year.
However, the health board has confirmed to the BBC that no appointment has been made.
Health board chairman Dyfed Edwards acknowledged the importance of the position: “This is a critically important job, and it is crucial that we appoint the right person to foster the positive culture that will steer the organisation towards a brighter future.”
Carol Shillabeer, the current interim chief executive appointed in May 2023, will remain in her role until a suitable replacement is found.
“Carol brings a wealth of experience from her previous chief executive and clinical leadership roles in NHS Wales, and she is collaborating with colleagues across the health board to ensure we maintain stability, while also making progress in addressing some of our key challenges,” added Edwards.
Commenting on the struggles of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to find a new chief executive, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for North Wales, Darren Millar MS, stated:
“Given the health board’s reputation, it’s no surprise that recruiting a new chief executive is proving to be a challenge.
“Anyone taking the helm will have a significant task in improving the performance of the NHS in North Wales, but they will also be burdened with having to work with a dysfunctional executive team, most of whom should have been dismissed a long time ago.
“The optimal way to attract a new chief executive is to overhaul the current executive team so that an incoming CEO can appoint a team with the integrity and culture that the public rightly expects of senior managers working in our NHS.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com