Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies has today challenged the First Minister over the “unsafe” state of hospital buildings, highlighting Abergele Hospital, where 85% of the estate is deemed operationally unsafe.
In FMQs in today’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, Mr Davies highlighted a recent report from North Wales’ beleaguered Betsi Cadwaladr health board which shows only 62% of its buildings are "operationally safe,” compared to a Wales-wide average of 72%, also below the 90% target.
“Last week, a report highlighted the poor fabric of buildings within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board area, in particular the Abergele hospital, where 85 per cent of the estate of Abergele hospital is deemed operationally unsafe and does not meet the requirements of the health and safety regulations that any other place would have to meet.
“Across the Betsi Cadwaladr health board area, only 62 per cent of the estate meets that operationally safe caveat or requirement. As you said in response earlier to the Member from Islwyn, you are responsible, your Health Minister's responsible, this health board has been in special measures for six years under direct Government control, why has this situation developed, and will you apologise for it?”
In his response, the First Minister offered no apology.
Commenting after the exchange, Clwyd West MS Darren Millar said:
“It is absolutely appalling that the First Minister is refusing to take responsibility for the fact that his government is putting both patients and NHS staff at immense risk.
“The fact that 85% of the estate of Abergele Hospital is deemed operationally unsafe is a matter for urgent attention, nothing something that can be brushed aside.
“Our hard working NHS staff are already working under pressured conditions due to record-long waiting times, forcing them to work in buildings which are unsafe will lead to many of them leaving and seeking employment elsewhere, placing more pressures on the remaining staff and putting patients even more at risk.”
Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies added:
“It goes to show too just how expendable North Wales is to the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay – conditions here are far worse than across Wales yet they are brushed aside by arrogance and hubris, something I am certain residents will remember.”