Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health Rhun ap Iorwerth MS condemns failings of health board under Welsh Government direct control after five years of being in special measures

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru MS and Shadow Minister for Health has drawn attention to the urgent action needed in addressing the failings of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in North Wales which as of today has been in special measures for five years.

Mr ap Iorwerth said the health board has a history of serious short comings, namely the failings of its vascular services, and the hiring of an external consultant, ‘Marbella Man’, to a tune of almost £2000 a day whilst he worked on ‘savings’ for the health board, sometimes from his Spanish home.

Most recently, the health board discharged almost 1,700 mental health patients during the crisis, which is repeatedly referred to be experts as a psychological challenge for many. Issues with a seemingly outdated data system has also led to an under-reporting of Covid deaths by the health board.

On 27 April the health board reported 84 “retrospective deaths” which occurred between 20 March and 22 April.

The Shadow Health Minister said “there may already be no option” but to split the health board and “start afresh”.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“With Betsi Cadwaladr Heath Board now having been in special measures for five years, there are some inescapable and fundamental questions about whether things can be turned around.

“From serious mental health failings, to wasteful expenditure on external business consultants, under direct Welsh Government control, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board has gone from one public problem to another.  

“Wherever we are, this pandemic has made us all think more about the kind of health service we need, how it must be properly resourced and its workforce supported. But here in the north of Wales, it’s also focused minds on whether Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is fit for purpose. 

“I have no desire to pursue reorganisation for its own sake but I’ve certainly concluded, and more and more people in and around the NHS tell me they agree with me, that there may already be no option now but to splitting up this health board, and start afresh. It’s a step which, as things stand, I would be willing to take if I were to become Health Minister after the election. “