Doctors pass vote of no confidence in North Wales health board

A vote of no confidence has been passed for the first time in a Welsh health board by doctors from the British Medical Association.

The clinicians working in and around Ysbyty Glan Clwyd took the action against Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board because they are unhappy with changes that will temporarily remove specialist doctors for complex births from the hospital, and move them to the two other district general hospitals in North Wales.

Watch: 1,000 protest against Ysbyty Glan Clwyd maternity downgrade

Doctors are angry that they were not consulted before the announcement was made and were not involved in the decision-making process. They say it makes a mockery of the principals of openness and transparency in the Welsh NHS.

As doctors, it makes all us feel demeaned. It devalues our professional expertise.

Dr Julie Jones, British Medical Association

Accordingly, the meeting passed a vote of no confidence in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and its executive team, due to:

  • Their failure to follow agreed consultation arrangements relating to significant changes to patient services

  • Their failure to engage from the outset with doctors, midwives and other professionals involved in delivering the service that it proposes to close

  • Their failure to demonstrate that every possible option to avoid closure has been considered, costed and clinically risk-assessed

Doctors are angry they weren't consulted in the decision-making process. Credit: PA

The decision to to temporarily downgrade maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has sparked anger with demonstrations in the area.

A 15,000-signature petition was handed to the Assembly.

Read More: Review supports Ysbyty Glan Clwyd maternity downgrade

Leaders at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board say the move is necessary to protect patients from harm.

We are disappointed by this step from the local Clwyd North Branch of the BMA. We fully acknowledge the strength of feeling regarding the Board’s decision from our clinicians. but maintain that our primary motivation for making this pre-emptive urgent interim change is to protect the safety of mothers and babies.

Professor Matthew Makin, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board