Posted: Mon 27th Feb 2023

North Wales health board put back into special measures due to “serious concerns”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Feb 27th, 2023

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be put into special measures by the Welsh government due to “serious concerns” over its performance, leadership, and culture, according to Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

The Board’s Chair, Vice Chair and independent members will step aside, with new independent members set to be appointed to the Board to lead the organisation as it continues to rebuild its services following the pandemic.

The decision was made due to concerns over the performance of the health board, its governance, and issues with leadership and culture that are holding back progress.

Morgan stated that she had not seen the improvement in services she expected for the people of north Wales.

A number of direct appointments to the Board have been made by the Minister to ensure stability, with the non-executive team to be led by Dyfed Edwards as the new Chair of the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.

Morgan acknowledged that the health board has faced significant challenges for a number of years and had worked hard to overcome them, but that new leadership was needed to deliver the improvements required.

She also stated that while special measures will apply to the organisation, day-to-day services and activities will continue, with an increased focus on quality and safety.

“Every day thousands of people are receiving good care from the NHS in north Wales, but there is a large degree of inconsistency in safety, performance, and quality across the region. Addressing this inconsistency will be the focus of the new board,” Morgan said.

Key to developing and building a sustainable organisation will be the appointment of the substantive chief executive. The recruitment process for this post is about to start. The health board will also be supported by an intervention and support team.

A campaign to recruit new independent members to the Board who will take the organisation forward beyond this initial period of stabilisation will commence later this year.

Independent members resigned from their posts, citing concerns about the future of healthcare services.

In a letter seen by our sister site Wrexham.com, the members criticised the Welsh government’s “grasp of the situation” and raised doubts about the Welsh Health Minister’s response to a recent damning Audit Wales report.

They also highlighted serious failings in the financial management of the Health Board, which resulted in a counter-fraud investigation.

According to the members, the responsibility for service quality and governance had been placed on their door without recognising the limitations of their powers as independent members.

A number of direct appointments to the Board have been made by the Minister to ensure stability.

The non-executive team will be led by Dyfed Edwards as the new Chair of the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, a former leader of Gwynedd Council and the deputy chair of the Welsh Revenue Authority. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The new Chair will focus on renewing the leadership and culture of the Health Board which will support its workforce to provide safe and effective services for the people of north Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dyfed will be supported by Gareth Williams, Karen Balmer and Rhian Watcyn Jones as interim independent members of the Board. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Further direct appointments will follow in the next few weeks.

A campaign to recruit new independent members to the Board who will take the organisation forward beyond this initial period of stabilisation will commence later this year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Key to developing and building a sustainable organisation will be the appointment of the substantive chief executive. The recruitment process for this post is about to start. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The health board will also be supported by an intervention and support team. ‌

The announcement that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has been placed back into special measures has drawn criticism from Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS. He claims that the Welsh government should take responsibility for the situation, rather than pointing the finger of blame at the Board.

In a statement, ap Iorwerth pointed out that the decision to prematurely take BCUHB out of special measures was ill-fated and came conveniently before the 2021 Senedd elections. He described the current situation as a failure of ministerial leadership as well as leadership within BCUHB, and stated that the people in the north of Wales have witnessed damning reports about their health service.

Ap Iorwerth went on to say that the patients and staff of BCUHB deserve better from their government and called for the Health Minister to consider her own position in the matter.

He also called for the government to step up and take responsibility for the situation, saying that the people in the north of Wales deserve an apology for the “dysfunction, incompetence, and chaotic mess” that has occurred under the Labour Welsh government.​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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