Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has criticised the Welsh Health Minister for failing to apologise to the people of North Wales in her statement in the Senedd this afternoon on ‘Escalation and further intervention to improve the quality of services in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB)’.
Darren, who along with his Welsh Conservatives colleagues, called for the troubled North Wales health board to go back into special measures last summer, also criticised the Minister for failing to force the resignations of the BCUHB Executive Team, who he said “are responsible for failures on the ground.”
“I listened very carefully to your statement, Minister, and I didn't hear an apology to the people of North Wales for the failure of this Welsh Government to sort out the deep-seated problems in our health board in the region, which have been ongoing, not just since 2015 when the Welsh Government first put Betsi Cadwaladr into special measures, but for a long time before that too.
“It should never have been taken out of special measures. I still believe that that decision was political, no matter what you have said, and it should never have happened. We called in this Chamber last June for the organisation to go back into special measures, and you refused to listen to our calls.
“We know what goes on in that health board. We see the letters that come in from constituents, and we see the whistleblowing letters that come in from staff as well. And frankly, your response to date is woefully inadequate.”
Referring to the Audit Wales report which found “clear and deep-seated fractures within the Executive Team”, Darren added:
“It's within the executive team that this report points to problems, not with the independent board members, who you forced to resign yesterday.
"Not one of the executive team has offered their resignation to you; I find that appalling, and I think it's about time that we had mechanisms in Wales to remove people like that who do not accept their responsibility for failures when things go wrong.
“We have a situation in North Wales where patients have died, where patients have come to harm, as a result of failings and frankly, people are owed an apology.
"We've got problems in our vascular services, our emergency departments, our urology services, our ophthalmology services, our mental health services, and our cancer services too - people waiting too long for treatment, and the situation under the watch of various health Ministers in this Government has gotten worse, not better, during periods of targeted intervention.
“You're absolutely right, we need new leadership. We need new leadership both in the health board on the executive team, and, frankly, we need a new Government, because this Government is incapable of being able to sort these problems out.”