Retired nurse says she never wants to be a patient again after time in north Wales hospital

A former nurse who ended up in the hospital she used to work in said she never wants to be a patient there again after feeling "vulnerable" during her time at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Mair Roberts, 73, was in the Bodelwyddan hospital for six days last month after having surgery and said she doesn't know "how the staff continue to go to work everyday".

Ysbty Glan Clwyd comes under Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which was placed back into special measures two weeks ago.

Mrs Roberts was a nurse-turned-risk and litigation manager at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and highlighted the danger of the current staffing levels at the hospital.

"You ring the bell and you're waiting...there's just not the staff there to answer it when you need it to be answered.

"At ward level, I don't know how the staff keep going and I applaud them. It wasn't their fault, there just wasn't enough of them to do it."

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, a hospital under the Betsi Cadwaladr health board, was specifically placed in targeted intervention in September 2022.

Mrs Roberts worked in hospitals for 36 years - many of those spent at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

She shared the sympathy she has for the staff who are "doing what they can" and emphasised that other areas of the hospital are working really well.

However, she said she cannot escape the feeling of sadness when seeing the current state of the hospital.

"I wanted to be well enough to get out of bed and help them...I was sad, I'm proud and passionate of the health service and I'm passionate of Glan Clwyd because I know how it was."

Two weeks ago, the Welsh Government announced that Betsi Cadwaladr - Wales' largest health board - was being placed back into special measures.

It was removed from special measures in 2020, after first entering the status in 2015.

Independent board members were removed of their positions following "serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture".

Dr Nick Lyons, Acting Deputy CEO and Executive Medical Director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, acknowledged the problem of staffing levels.

He told ITV Wales: "We're already doing a huge amount of work...trying to understand why people might not want to stay here - it's not just about recruitment, it's about retention."

Dr Lyons apologised to Mrs Roberts for her experience and said he understands that special measures undermine the confidence that people have in the hospital, but reaffirmed that "the vast majority of treatment is fantastic".

"There are problems, I would say there's also a fantastic amount of good work going on in the building behind us as we're talking, so it's not as if everything is wrong," he said.

"But there are real problems that have been deepseated and sitting within this hospital but also other parts of the health board for a long time.

"Special measures seeks to really understand the reasons for that, to do our diagnostics, and to really understand why and then understand what the long-term solution is."