Welsh Conservatives hit out at First Minister’s health board comments

The Acting Shadow Health spokesperson has lashed out at the First Minister over comments printed today on the sorry state of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Darren Millar AM has again called on the Welsh Labour Government to be accountable and act swiftly to address the extended state of special measures at Betsi.

Today’s North Wales Live article reports that in his previous role as Health Minister, Mark Drakeford considered breaking up Betsi Cadwaladr to address the problems it faced, and yet no action was taken.

Yet three years after Mr Drakeford left his post as Health Minister, he had admitted that this is still a possibility.

Mr Millar has urged the First Minister and his government to stop their trademark dithering on this issue, and address the sorry state of the large North Wales health board.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s four years under Welsh Government control is the longest an NHS body has spent in organisation-wide special measures. It is struggling with the biggest deficit of Wales’ health boards, at £42m, and recently recorded more patient safety-related deaths than all other NHS trusts in Wales put together.

Speaking ahead of a Welsh Conservative debate on 5th June in which the party will hold a spotlight up to four years of failures at Betsi by the Welsh Labour Government, Mr Millar said:

“The NHS in North Wales needs another reorganisation like a hole in the head; it’s the last thing that Ministers should be considering.

“What four years in special measures with little sign of improvement do tell us though, is that it is abundantly clear that the Welsh Government’s accountability and improvement arrangements aren’t working and that our NHS is crying out for effective leadership and management.

“Health Boards in special measures usually deliver improved results yet in Betsi we have seen emergency department, financial and waiting times performance get worse.

“The failure to get to grips with problems at Betsi has had a huge impact on patient confidence and it is time that Ministers accepted their responsibility for these failures by doing the honourable thing and resigning.”

He added: “Our five-point plan for a safer, more accountable and listening NHS would go a long way to addressing many of these issues.”