Plaid Cymru has renewed calls for the Welsh Government to secure a “Plan B” for delivering healthcare across the north of Wales

Plaid Cymru has renewed calls for the Welsh Government to secure a “Plan B” for delivering healthcare across the north of Wales following Audit Wales’ identification of “concerning errors” as Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s 2021-22 accounts are published.  

Concerns have been raised by the Auditor General that “significant areas of expenditure may not be accurate” in the Health Board’s most recent accounts, which identified that Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board had again failed to meet its financial duty to break-even over a three-year period.  

The accounts, published on 26 August 2022, also showed insufficient audit evidence to demonstrate the existence of £72 million of expenses incurred but not paid during the financial year, and insufficient evidence to confirm that expenditure of £122 million occurred in the year or was properly accounted for in the correct accounting period. 

Commenting, Adrian Crompton, Auditor General for Wales said: 

“Along with other NHS bodies it faces considerable cost and demand pressures including the significant backlog of planned care. However, it is also receiving considerable funding from the Welsh Government which the public would expect it to manage and account for accurately. The errors the audit has identified are concerning and I have made recommendations to the board for improvement, which my team will follow up next year.” 

These concerns regarding the Health Board’s auditing are the latest in a long line of questions and failures regarding the North Wales Health Board’s performance – which have regularly been highlighted in several Health Inspectorate Wales reports, and a five-year period previously spent under special measurers - which was lifted by the Welsh Government in November 2020.  

Earlier this month, Chair and Chief Officer of the North Wales Community Health Council wrote to the Welsh Government calling for “urgent action… to secure the safe healthcare that people in north Wales expect and deserve”. 

Concerns have regularly been raised by Plaid Cymru politicians in the Senedd regarding the Health Board’s performance – most recently in regards to concerns surrounding Vascular care services, which had previously been subject of a critical Royal College of Surgeons report.  

Commenting in response to Audit Wales’ recent report on the Health Board’s accounting, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s Health and Social Care spokesperson said:  

“The Auditor's report again highlights what has become more and more glaringly obvious, that this has become unmanageable as a health board.  

In this case it's failings in financial reporting, but week after week we hear how Betsi's problems are directly affecting patients. For the sake of patients and staff, Welsh Government has to look for a Plan B - a new structure for delivering healthcare in the north of Wales.”