Posted: Tue 25th May 2021

Wales’ new health minister will be monitoring Betsi Cadwaladr ‘very closely’ after removal from special measures

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 25th, 2021


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Wales’ new health minister says she will be monitoring Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board “very closely” following its removal from special measures.

Eluned Morgan held her first press conference on Monday after taking on the role from Vaughan Gething, who was appointed as minister for the economy following Labour’s victory in this month’s Senedd election.

North.Wales asked the minister whether she had managed to speak to Betsi Cadwaladr officials since taking up the position, with the health board not long out of special measures and facing a backlog of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We also asked what her expectations were for the region’s health board, with issues outstanding around mental health care.

The MS said: “I did have the opportunity to speak to all of the heads of the health boards last week.

“My message was very clear to them that we’re not out of the pandemic, but we have a huge task ahead of us in terms of rebuilding the NHS.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak directly to Betsi Cadwaladr heads yet – I’ve only been in the post for a week.

“But of course, I’m very aware that they have only recently come out of special measures, and that we have a responsibility to monitor them very closely as they enter this new phase of development.

“You will be aware that we injected a huge amount of cash to help them to get to a better position in Betsi Cadwaladr and we hope with a new chief executive that we will see a fresh look at the way that we can provide services in that part of the world.”

The health minister was also quizzed about the health board’s approach to mental health by the Local Democracy Reporter for Conwy and Denbighshire, Jez Hemming.

It follows a board member stating last week that its keynote mental health strategy needed “drastic review” after it received limited assurance from a governance appraisal.

The minister responded: “I’m aware from my previous role as mental health minister that there were still many outstanding issues in relation to mental health issues in Betsi Cadwaladr.

“That targeted intervention means that we are still monitoring things very, very closely from a Welsh Government point of view.

“Of course, I want to be open as open and transparent as I can be.

“I need to have an early discussion with the chief executive of the health board just to make sure that they understand what our expectations are in terms of improving the service in North Wales.

“The service has obviously been a huge amount of strain, but as you say, there has been a long time now where we’ve been in a very difficult situation in particular when it comes to mental health support in North Wales.”

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