Posted: Tue 28th Feb 2023

“More needs to be done at a greater pace to regain confidence”, says interim chief exec of north Wales health board

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

The interim chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has acknowledged that “more needs to be done at a greater pace to regain the confidence of our staff and our communities.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Gill Harris’ comments come after news that the north Wales health board was placed back into special measures amid “serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Monday’s decision follows a damning report from the Auditor General for Wales, which highlighted “deep-rooted issues” with working relationships at the most senior levels of Betsi Cadwaladr University 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. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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

Health Minister Eluned Morgan will now appoint a new Chair and a number of new independent members to work alongside the Executive Team. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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 meeting with the Minister when we were left with no option but to resign as Independent Members with immediate effect. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We have no confidence in the Welsh Government’s grasp of the situation”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They added that they are “gravely concerned” over the Minister’s response to the recent Audit Wales report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Responding to the announcement Gill Harris, Interim Chief Executive at Betsi University Health Board, said that “more needs to be done at a greater pace to regain the confidence of our staff and our communities.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms Harris said: “Following the publication of the Audit Wales report on Board effectiveness last week and in light of the significant challenges we continue to face, the Health Minister has today announced that the Health Board will be escalated into Special Measures. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“While this is extremely disappointing, I acknowledge that more needs to be done at a greater pace to regain the confidence of our staff and our communities. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The increased level of intervention and support that special measures will provide will involve working more closely with Welsh Government and the development of an improvement plan with key milestones. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The arrangements will also involve the creation of a Health Board turnaround team during the coming weeks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The dedication and effort of our 19,000 staff has been recognised and this decision will help us to ensure our communities get the services they expect and deserve. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I would like to thank Mark Polin, Lucy Reid and all of the independent members for their support during some of the most challenging times the NHS has ever faced.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

You can read our full story on Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board returning to special measures, here. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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