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BMA call for independent inquiry into health board's concerns procedure

The British Medical Association in Wales has called for an independent inquiry into how one health board in Wales investigates formal concerns.

In a speech to the BMA's Annual Members Meeting in Bournemouth, Dr Phil Banfield said: "It cannot be right that our members are still ignored and chastised for raising concerns about patient safety and it cannot be right that investigations of concerns are tainted by conflicts of interest. That is why, today, we are calling for an independent inquiry into ABMU Health Board’s process for investigating formal concerns."

Mr Banfield added: "It is simply unacceptable for a health board to investigate serious concerns about itself. Despite us highlighting the potential lack of openness and transparency, our calls have fallen on deaf ears. This is not the NHS we aspire to be part of."

ITV Wales understands the reason for the inquiry call stems from concerns raised at the end of 2016 over a former healthcare support worker, Kris Wade, who was employed by Abertawe Bro Morganwwg University Health board.

In September 2016 Wade was found guilty of murdering 65-year-old Christine James at her home in Cardiff Bay.

ITV Wales has attempted to confirm this with the health board. Earlier today the health board responded to the call by the BMA for an independent inquiry by saying: "We are surprised and disappointed to hear the BMA is calling for a review in how we investigate formal concerns.

"ABMU Health Board actively encourages all staff to raise concerns about patient safety, and have robust processes in place to support this. We encourage openness and transparency."

It added: "As a health board, it is of course our responsibility to investigate concerns raised in the first place, and when necessary to arrange for external reviews, and we have done this on a number of occasions."