A Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives has revealed the shocking number of days lost due to staff suspensions at the beleaguered Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
The health board was placed in ‘special measures’ in June 2015 – the highest form of Welsh Government intervention. Since then the number of patients waiting more than a year for routine surgery has increased by 2,550%.
An FOI by the Welsh Conservatives has revealed that the health board has lost 42,292 work days due to staff suspensions since 2014/15. A figure which is equivalent to 116 years (based on a 365 day year and 24-hour operation).
There are currently 65 ongoing suspensions at Betsi Cadwaladr out of a workforce of 16,772.
The number of work days lost to staff suspensions since June 2015 (when the health board was placed in special measures) is 28,871– equivalent to 74 years.
Commenting on the figures, Shadow Health Secretary – Angela Burns AM – said:
“These figures are extremely worrying, and demonstrate the financial and practical cost of serious, ongoing issues at Betsi Cadwaladr.
“The Welsh Labour Government placed Betsi Cadwaladr in special measures two-and-a-half years ago, yet patients and their families are still waiting for discernible improvements to materialise.
“We have consistently called for a clear plan to bring the health board back to its normal status, but these revelations underline the scale of the crisis facing ministers.”
North Wales AM, Mark Isherwood, said:
“Patients in North Wales will rightly be wondering why after 30 months of special measures the standard of care in Betsi Cadwaladr has actually become worse in key areas.
“An extra £10m has been spent on keeping the health board in special measures, and its budget overspend looks set to reach £50m, yet we still haven’t seen a credible plan to turn things around.
“Now we learn that staff suspensions are costing the health board a considerable sum each year.
“It’s a toxic mix and patients and their relatives are bearing the brunt of Labour’s mismanagement.”