Welsh health board put into special measures amid ‘serious concerns’
The Welsh Government has announced Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be put into special measures because of serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture.
The Chair, Vice Chair and independent members of the Board have all agreed to step down and new independent members will be appointed to lead the organisation as it rebuilds its services following the pandemic.
Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said: “I have serious concerns around the performance of the health board and I have not seen the improvement in services I expect for the people of north Wales. I have therefore decided to take action to rectify this.
“I have informed the Board that I am putting the organisation back into Special Measures with immediate effect. This significant decision is made in line with the escalation framework.
“It reflects serious concerns about the performance of the organisation, about its governance, and issues with leadership and culture that are holding back progress.
“I recognise that the health board has had significant challenges for a number of years and has worked hard to overcome these challenges. But now is the time for new leadership to deliver the improvements that are needed.”
A number of direct appointments to the Board have been made by the minister with the non-executive team being 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.
Dyfed will be supported by Gareth Williams, Karen Balmer and Rhian Watcyn Jones as interim independent members of the Board with Further appointments expected to follow in the next few weeks.
A campaign to recruit new independent members to the Board will take place later this year and the recruitment process to fill the post of chief executive will begin shortly.
Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan added: “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.
“Whilst special measures will apply to the organisation, I wish to reassure both patients and communities served by the Health Board, as well as the staff working for it, that day to day services and activities will continue, with an increased focus on quality and safety.”
Responding to the announcement Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “This is the right decision, but Labour should never have allowed the situation to deteriorate to this point in the first place.
“It is clear that the Health Board shouldn’t have been taken out of special measures in 2020 and we now need to understand why that happened prematurely if the problems are still so extensive.
“People in north Wales cannot continue to pay the price for Welsh Government inaction.”
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