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Health board faces criminal charges over death of mental unit patient

26 Apr 2023 2 minute read
the Hergest Mental Health Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd

An NHS health board in Wales is facing criminal charges over the death of a patient, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed.

A woman was found dead in the Hergest Mental Health Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd in north Wales on April 20 2021.

After an investigation by the HSE, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board was charged with failing to discharge its duty under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The board is accused of failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of a patient brought into its care.

A hearing is expected on August 3 at Llandudno Magistrates’ Court.

A statement from the board on Wednesday said: “This is a very tragic case and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the patient.

“We are unable to comment further until the hearing has concluded.”


Shadow health minister and Welsh Conservative Darren Millar MS said: “Many people will be shocked at news that the Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board for exposing patients to risks which resulted in the death of a mental health patient in its care.”

The board was taken out of special measures in November 2020, prompting criticism of the Welsh Government.

Senedd health minister Eluned Morgan announced in February this year that Betsi Cadwaladr was being placed back into special measures because of “serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture”.

The chair, vice chair and independent members of the board were also removed in a move that sparked controversy, with new independent members appointed to lead the organisation.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this sad death.

“We are unable to comment further while the hearing is ongoing.”

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