Shadow Health Minister Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones AM has today proposed a bill that would look to hold Wales’ NHS managers to account over ‘systematic managerial failings’ in the health service in order to prevent another scandal like Cwm Taf from happening again.
Ms Jones said Welsh NHS managers faced no accountability and staff could not raise concerns in fear of being silenced or dismissed.
In April, maternity services at Cwm Taf Health Board were placed into special measures after an external review identified "serious failings" with "little evidence of effective clinical leadership at any level" and patient concerns not taken seriously.
Plaid Cymru AM and shadow health minister Helen Mary Jones’ legislative proposal would establish a professional body for Wales’ NHS management in order to set core professional competencies for all managers and ensure proper and continuous professional training and development takes place.
The body would also have the power to impose sanctions against managers for poor performance, with the ability to strike off managers for serious breaches of standards or misconduct.
The bill, which Plaid Cymru are presenting as an “alternative” to the Welsh Government’s Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) Bill, would also establish a “legal duty of candour” for all health professionals - including managers, as well as a “genuine, robust and transparent” complaints system to support parents and families. The Welsh Government’s proposed duty of candour only applies to organisations not professionals, and lacks protection for staff who raise concerns about services.
The bill would also ensure true independence of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.
Plaid Cymru AM and shadow health minister Helen Mary Jones said,
“The horrific scandals at Cwm Taf, Tawel Fan, and in the Princess of Wales Hospital have exposed the consistent and systematic management failures across our Welsh NHS. As far as is publicly known, Not a single manager has been disciplined for contributing and maintaining these toxic cultures.
“We need a professional body for NHS managers with the ability to hold managers to account and strike them off for poor performance, in the same way doctors and nurses can be held accountable and dismissed by the professional bodies they are members of.
“Our NHS needs managers and leaders who can be relied on. That’s why I’m proposing a consistent and ‘values based’ training alongside a core set of professional competencies for people who are managing our NHS. This would include a system of registering senior staff so they cannot fail in one local health board and pop up in another – a convention that is prevalent within our health service.
“A legal duty of candour should apply to all health professionals - including managers, to empower whistle-blowers. This would go hand in hand with a transparent and robust complaints system to support parents and families.
“This is part of Plaid Cymru’s vision for constructively improving our Welsh NHS and offers an alternative approach to the Minister’s Health and Social Care Bill. Our NHS has been terribly mismanaged for far too long and the toxic culture of unaccountability has caused endless grief. No more. Plaid Cymru will develop and deliver an NHS that will serve the needs of our citizens not the bank balances of senior managers. The people of Wales deserve no less.