Posted: Wed 29th May 2024

Vaughan Gething risked health of North Wales patients for political gain, says Plaid Cymru

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A new report into the troubled Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has revealed significant failures, with Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor accusing former Health Minister Vaughan Gething of risking the health of North Wales patients for political gain.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed into Special Measures in 2015 due to various issues, including financial problems, management failings, increasing waiting lists, and a critical report on a mental health unit.

However, it was prematurely de-escalated in early 2020, a move now under heavy scrutiny.

Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor has accused Gething, who is now the First Minister, of prioritising political objectives over the health of North Wales residents ahead of the 2021 Senedd election.

He asserts that the decision to lift the Special Measures status was made despite clear evidence that the health board was not ready.

These accusations are supported by a damning report on Mental Health and Learning Disability services in the health board, conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists between May and December 2023.

The report reviewed four key investigations into mental health care in North Wales from 2014 to 2018, finding that only 36% of the recommendations had been fully implemented.

“This is a damning report. People’s health and wellbeing have been put at risk because of failures to correct decades-old mistakes. BCUHB was placed into Special Measures largely due to serious concerns about mental health care. This report shows that progress was halted due to the then Health Minister’s decision to de-escalate the Health Board’s Special Measures status for political purposes,” said Mabon ap Gwynfor.

He added, “Vaughan Gething’s fingerprints are all over the abject failure to address the most pressing issues within the NHS in Wales. The UK Covid Inquiry revealed that Gething neglected pandemic preparedness, and now we see that his complacency was not an isolated incident.”

Mabon ap Gwynfor stressed the urgent need for the health board to address these failings and called on the current administration to provide immediate funding and support to resolve the outstanding issues.

“This happened on his watch, and I have little confidence that the current First Minister will take action to fix this,” he concluded.

Further information on the findings and implications of the report can be found in the full document published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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