Opposition leader asks ‘who is to blame’ as Cwm Taf falls into special measures

Paul Davies AM this afternoon challenged the First Minister to explain who is responsible for further Welsh health services falling into special measures today.

Maternity services at two Cwm Taf University Health Board hospitals have been thrown into special measures by Health Minister Vaughan Gething. In a statement issued this morning, he described the findings of a Welsh Government- commissioned report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology, and the Royal College of Midwives as “depressing”.

The Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles hospitals take Wales’ miserable total to five out of seven health boards in a state of special measures or targeted interventions. Mr Davies quizzed First Minister Mark Drakeford about the ‘enormous amount of resources’ needed to tackle this additional monitoring across the country, especially as we approach four years of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in special measures as one of the longest-running special measures cases in Britain.

Today’s report found 11 areas of concern in the Cwm Taf maternity units, and now 43 pregnancies will be investigated.

Mr Davies asked the First Minister for answers about why this is nothing new for Wales. He said: “It’s a sad fact, isn’t it, that with five out of seven health boards across the country under special measures or targeted interventions, there is barely anything ‘special’ or unusual about it any more. This seems the new norm and the sad reality for the people of Wales under your government.”

Speaking outside the chamber, Mr Davies added:

“I’m desperately saddened to hear that another health board has fallen into special measures under Welsh Labour leadership. The state of the NHS in Wales is crumbling under mis-management, and we’re all suffering as a result.

“The First Minister took a long time to essentially fail to answer my questions today, something he did when I questioned him previously on this in March, and an attitude he and his Minister must have had towards this crisis all along. This is evidenced by the fact that the first formal concerns regarding maternity services were made more than seven years ago and it has taken this long to publish a report.

“Even an internal investigation passed the Health Minister without his knowledge last September.

“After two decades of Welsh Labour-leadership which has overseen repeated mis-management of funding, continuous failure to recruit and retain staff, and the underfunding of the healthcare inspectorate, it’s time for a change. The people of Wales deserve better.

“Why are we being left no choice but to settle for sub-standard and dangerous health services, with no accountability from the Welsh Government about how and why this happened, and who will be made to answer for it?”