Bed shortages in North Wales mental health wards means patients having to travel Bristol for care, Assembly Member reveals

Mental health patients in North Wales are having to travel as far afield as Bristol because of a shortage of beds, an Assembly Member has revealed.

Darren Millar AM – a Welsh Conservative representing Clwyd West – highlighted other serious failings in the care of patients under the care of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board when he questioned the Welsh Labour Government’s Cabinet Health Secretary on news that care received by patients in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd may have contributed to at least seven deaths.

Mr Millar, cited cases where mental health patients are having to sleep on sofas in hospital ward lounges because no beds are available.

In other cases, he said, female patients are having to sleep on male wards because of the shortfall in beds.

The Tawel Fan ward, based within Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, was closed more than three years ago and a subsequent report found that some patients were treated like animals. Mr Millar has called on the authorities to reconsider their decision not to bring prosecutions.

Speaking outside the Senedd Chamber, Darren Millar AM said:

“It’s now been two-and-a-half years since the investigation into the failings of Tawel Fan ward and still I am hearing from my constituents that similar problems persist.

“It’s nothing short of a national scandal that not one person has lost their job as a result of this dreadful situation, made worse still by the fact the care and safety of mental health patients are still in jeopardy largely because of bed shortages.

“While I acknowledge that investigations must carried out with rigour and thoroughness, concerned families and patients are still waiting for answers and accountability – both of which are now long overdue.”