Welsh Conservatives call on Welsh Government to take responsibility and fix ‘sorry state’ of North Wales health service

This week marks four years since Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed under direct Welsh Government control.

In reaction to this extended time of special measures, Welsh Conservatives will hold a debate in the Welsh Parliament this afternoon.

Shadow Minister for Health, Angela Burns AM, will lead the charge, calling on the Welsh Government to recognise the vast improvements still needed at Betsi Cadwaladr, and to act quickly to bring the health board back into proper working order.

Highlighting a desperate situation for the people of north Wales, Mrs Burns is set to confront Health Minister Vaughan Gething for answers on exactly why the health board’s original problems still exist. Evidenced problems with governance, leadership and oversight, lack of public confidence and GP and primary care services are still rife, and shamefully, concerns over mental health services continue to be raised. 

Mrs Burns will ask the Minister to take full responsibility for the continued incompetency which sees the health board remain under Welsh Government control, and to step aside if he can’t do that.

This stagnant leadership is now providing additional support to five out of seven health boards in Wales.

Residents of North Wales under the care of Betsi Cadwaladr are spread across a huge area of the country, making up 23% of the entire population. Despite this scale, residents are still regularly struggling against the worst A&E waiting times in the country, the highest number of reported patient safety incidents, and an almost-crippling shortage of GPs, midwives and community nurses.

These four years make it one of the longest times an NHS body in Great Britain in special measures has been under direct Government control.  

Commenting ahead of the debate, Mrs Burns said:

“I welcome the opportunity this afternoon to again challenge the Welsh Government over the sorry state of Betsi Cadwaladr.

“I will use this time to urge the Health Minister in the strongest terms to end the delays plaguing his management of Betsi’s recovery from special measures, and put some real plans in place to help the service improve.

“We as Welsh Conservatives want to see a new management structure put in at Betsi, devolving power to lower level management roles to enable decisions to be made more rapidly. We also want to see staff on the ground properly listened to, and for the health board to draft in experienced Change Managers working throughout the English and Scottish NHSs to help drive improvements forward.

“It is also vital the proper attention is paid to Betsi’s appalling and growing £42m deficit.”