Demand for transparency: Welsh Conservatives push for release of Betsi finance report
Pressure is mounting on Wales’ health minister to release a report by accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), which allegedly uncovers financial mismanagement by senior executives and managers at the north Wales health board.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for North Wales, Darren Millar MS, called for the immediate publication of the report, emphasising the public’s right to know about these troubling revelations.
Despite concerns raised by politicians and the public, the report commissioned by Betsi Cadwaladr has remained undisclosed.
The board’s recent return to special measures has increased the demand for transparency.
Darren Millar MS stressed the importance of releasing the report, stating, “A failure to publish the report only serves to give the impression of a cover-up.”
He further highlighted EY’s findings of fraudulent activities such as false accounting and document manipulation, allegedly involving senior officials including the chief executive and finance director.
Mr Millar said: “The Ernst & Young report exposes unacceptable and allegedly criminal practices by senior executives and managers in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and beyond.
“There is significant public interest in its contents and the public have a right to know what has been happening.
“Given that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been placed back into special measures, the Health Minister has the power to direct the Health Board to publish the report – she should do so without delay.”
He added: “A failure to publish the report only serves the give the impression of a cover up.”
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, a Cabinet member in the UK government, expressed serious concern about the report’s revelations in a letter to Health Minister Eluned Morgan.
Mr Davies emphasised the necessity of publishing the report in full, as partial leaks to the media have caused anxiety within North Wales communities.
In his letter, Mr Davies stated, “It has been stated that the report found widespread mismanagement of public money within the Board. This has caused considerable anxiety within communities in North Wales.”
“Given the drip feed of parts of the report to the media and with widespread concern mounting, I believe it is in all of our interests that members of the public are able to read the report in full for themselves.”
“I would therefore ask you to publish the report in full today.”
Last week, the health minister acknowledged the seriousness of the report’s findings but clarified that its publication is the responsibility of the health board, as they commissioned it.
Ms Morgan reassured the public that the health board is addressing the highlighted issues according to their existing procedures and policies.
She also confirmed the suspension of key individuals named in the report, emphasising the importance of following due process and maintaining the integrity of any investigations.
During today’s debate in the Senedd, Welsh Conservatives will advocate for the publication of the Ernst & Young report.
The motion emphasises the need for transparency and accountability by making the report public.
Additionally, the motion calls for an independent review to investigate the presence of similar practices in other NHS organisations in Wales and to ensure that previous financial years were not affected by comparable irregularities.
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