Posted: Wed 8th Mar 2023

Health Minister refuses call for public inquiry into North Wales health board

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2023

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Health Minister Eluned Morgan has refused calls for a public inquiry into Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Plaid Cymru, has called for an inquiry into the largest health board in Wales following a series of damning reports led to Betsi being put back into special measures just over two years since it came out.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, the party’s spokesperson on health and care, has repeatedly called for Betsi to be replaced with new, smaller health boards.

However, with that call being rejected by the government, he said that a full public inquiry must be established to “protect patients” from long-standing problems with the health board, which are yet to be satisfactorily resolved.

The calls for a public inquiry come after a series of reports raised serious concerns about the board’s structures and leadership, including cases of wrong treatment being given, patients dying when they shouldn’t, and £122 million going missing.

Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:  “The patients and staff of Betsi Cadwaladr deserve better.”

“Damning report after damning report detailing wrong treatment being given – even amputation, patients dying when they shouldn’t, and to top it off, £122 million going missing!”

“Questions about the board’s structures and leadership have damaged this health board for so many years with most of its time in existence having been in some level of Government intervention – yet the Health Minister says it ‘wasn’t her job’ to have a grasp on things.”

“We’ve called for the health board to be split up – we’ve been told ‘no.’ We’ve called for the health minister to go – we’ve been told ‘no.’ All the while patients and staff continue to be let down, time and time again.”

“If the Health Minister won’t share with me my ambition to look forward to a fresh start with new health boards, then we need to have a proper look back to learn more about the lessons that need to be learnt – but she doesn’t want to do that either!’”

“We’re going round in ever-decreasing circles, and the Health Minister is intent on dragging health in the north down with her.”

Responding to Mr ap Iorwerth in Senedd, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “I’m certainly not going to agree to a call for a public inquiry, because I think we need to get on with the job, and a public inquiry is going to distract people from the job that needs to be done.”

“What I would argue is that, actually, this is a fresh start. What we’re doing, for the first time ever in the history of Wales, is, not only have we put a hospital into special measures, but we’ve also taken the unprecedented step of offering the opportunity to independent members to step aside.”

“And, obviously, their job now will be to work, and to read, very carefully, the Audit Wales report, which was highly critical of the executives. But we do need to make sure that their rights as employees are respected, and we have to go through proper due process.”

The Betsi Cadwaladr UHB is responsible for providing healthcare services to over 700,000 people in North Wales and employs around 16,000 staff.

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