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Health Minister welcomes Betsi Cadwaladr report

The Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, has welcomed the report into Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board. He says that the Chairman of the Health Board has confirmed his wish to resign, and that the Chief Executive of NHS Wales has been asked to appoint a successor.

I welcome this report from WAO and HIW. It is clear the board has been through a difficult period; however, many fundamental challenges still remain within the organisation.

The Chair has formally notified me of his wish to resign and I have accepted his resignation. The Chief Executive has also informed me of her intention to leave the organisation and the health board is currently working through the detail of her departure.

I wish to pay tribute to the efforts of the Chair and Chief Executive but I have asked David Sissling, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, to move forward swiftly to appoint their successors and enable the health board to begin a fresh chapter.

David has already taken robust steps to address the issues faced by the health board prior to today’s report being issued, and I will ask him to consider the report’s findings and inform me what further action is necessary.

– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister

Health board Chairman to stand down after report

The Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is standing down after a report found failings which put patient's safety at risk.

Under the circumstances, I believe it is appropriate that I stand down as Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and I have informed the Minister of my intention to do so as soon as appropriate alternative arrangements are in place.

There are many fundamental challenges for the Board but I am confident that these will be responded to positively to deliver the necessary improvements and I shall continue to contribute fully during this transitional period.

– Prof Merfyn Jones, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chairman

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Health board responds to report

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will today formally receive a report by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office following their joint review of our governance arrangements. The report identified significant failings and major challenges for the Board which we recognise and accept.

Although steps have already been taken to tackle some of the issues, the Health Board is determined to respond to these matters in full and will ensure that the report’s recommendations are addressed as a priority.

Our progress will be subject to ongoing review and scrutiny by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Wales Audit Office and Welsh Government.

– Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board statement

Board's effectiveness 'significantly compromised'

"The Health Board's current governance arrangements and procedures do not adequately address the gap between the ward and the Board. We have concerns that the Board's governance arrangements and organisational structure are compromising its ability to properly identify issues concerning the quality and safety of patient care."

– Chief Executive of HIW, Kate Chamberlain

"The effectiveness of the Board has been significantly compromised by a breakdown in working relationships between some senior leaders in the organisation. There has been a lack of cohesion in the way executive directors work together and the report raises further concerns about the stability and capacity of the executive team as a result of staff turnover and sickness absence.

"Encouragingly, the Board recognises the scale of the challenges ahead and that strong leadership from the Chair and clinical leaders will be vital. The pace at which problems are tackled must accelerate."

– Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas

Report's focus on infection control procedure

Key points raised in the report include:

  • Routine governance arrangements within the Health Board have not paid sufficient attention to infection control
  • Effectiveness of the Board has been significantly compromised by a breakdown in working relationships between some senior leaders in the organisation
  • There has been a lack of cohesion in the way executive directors work together
  • The report raises further concerns about the stability and capacity of the executive team as a result of staff turnover and sickness absence.

Patient care issues raised in report 'disturbing'

“This report raises significant concerns about the management of Betsi Cadwaladr University Board particularly at a time when the entire health sector in Wales is undergoing seismic changes in both its funding and structure.

“That the apparent breakdown in working relationships between some of the Board’s senior leaders has compromised its ability to properly identify issues concerning the quality and safety of patient care is disturbing.

“I thank both the Wales Audit Office and Health Inspectorate Wales for bringing this matter to the fore.

“The Public Accounts Committee has agreed to take urgent evidence on this issue at its meeting on 18 July.”

– Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee,

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Concerns over delivery of health services

A hand hygiene station Credit: PA

A joint report by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and the Wales Audit Office (WAO) has revealed failings in the way Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is run. The report looks at the corporate, clinical and financial challenges facing the health board.

Some of the issues arising from the report include lack of clarity around accountability arrangements and deepening concerns over how services are delivered.

MPs will hear Welsh hospital patients' complaints

Labour MP Ann Clwyd says she'll raise complaints sent to her from patients in Welsh hospitals during today's Welsh Grand committee debate. The Cynon Valley MP has been appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate the way patients' concerns are dealt with by hospitals in England.

But she's previously said that many hundreds of the letters and emails she's received are from those who've had difficult experiences in hospitals here in Wales.

  1. ITV Report

Sharp End

'I didn't realise that I had anything wrong'

Gordon Lewis had surgery to repair an aneurysm Credit: Wales AAA screening programme

Accepting an invitation from his GP for abdominal scan when he turned 65 years old proved to be a life-saving decision for Gordon Lewis.

The retired coal miner from Abercwmboi was found to have a large abdominal aortic aneurysm and within a week of having the scan was undergoing surgery.

The married father of three said, “I didn’t realise that I had anything wrong with me as I had no symptoms and had been feeling fine so when they told me they had found an AAA it was a real shock."

Mr Lewis, who has two grandchildren, made a good recovery from the operation and within six weeks was completely back to normal.

He knows how lucky he was and is determined to encourage other men to take up the offer to the scan.

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