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Written Statement - Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – Special Measures Update

Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister for Health

On June 8, following advice from the Wales Audit Office, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Welsh Government officials, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed in special measures. This statement provides Assembly Members with an update about the action taken by the Welsh Government and the health board in the weeks since.

The Minister for Health and Social Services, in his statement to the National Assembly on June 9, outlined the areas the health board must take immediate action as part of special measures – governance, leadership and oversight; mental health services; consultant-led maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd; GP and primary care services, including out-of-hours services and reconnecting with the public.

Simon Dean, deputy chief executive of NHS Wales, has been appointed interim chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board during this special measures period and the board is being supported by three key individuals:

  • Dr Chris Jones, chair of Cwm Taf University Health Board. Dr Jones is providing advice and support in relation to GP and primary care services, including out-of-hours services. He has visited each of the out-of-hours services and held discussions with GPs, primary care managers and members of the board. He provided feedback about the strengths of the services and opportunities for improvement. These have informed the actions the health board is taking to address areas of concern in relation to out-of-hours services;
  • Peter Meredith-Smith, the former interim chair of the Board of Community Health Councils in Wales and associate director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales, is providing advice and support in mental health nursing. He is reviewing action taken so far in relation to mental health services, including the detail of the 100-day plan for mental health to ensure it incorporates all actions in respect of Tawel Fan;
  • Ann Lloyd, the former chief executive of NHS Wales and chair of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee, is providing advice and support about governance and accountability and is working closely in support of the chair and interim chief executive. Mrs Lloyd has reviewed the current governance arrangements; led a board workshop and developed an action plan to address key issues quickly. This will result in a clear governance framework for the health board being in place in the autumn. She is also undertaking a board effectiveness review, which will identify areas for attention which will be pursued as part of a board development programme.

Work is also underway to review, and if necessary identify further support, in respect of workforce issues, strategic mental health services and service planning.

Mr Dean has recognised the need for pace and urgency in taking forward the need for change and improvement. He has announced a series of 100-day plans, which set out specific, measurable and deliverable actions in relation to each of the special measures areas.

Each plan has been clearly articulated with clear milestones against which progress will be measured. The plans have been published on the health board’s website and will be discussed at the public board meeting today. http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/861/page/82419.

The health board is also taking forward a comprehensive listening process with the public and NHS staff. More than 40 events will be held across North Wales over the summer and the board will also join a number of community events.

Over the past month, 15 listening events have been held, giving members of local communities an opportunity to express their views about the health service in North Wales. There have also been 10 events for staff to discuss their views with senior managers. The feedback from these events is being collated and will be acted on.  

Many organisations have offered to help and support the health board, including other health boards and professional and representative bodies, including the British Medical Association, the RCN and UNISON. I am grateful to these organisations and welcome the support which has been offered. The health board is considering these offers and the potential benefits their input could bring in drawing together clinical and staff perspectives.

Good foundations have been laid on which more work to rebuild people’s confidence in the quality of services in North Wales can and will be taken.