“Correct the record” on Betsi Cadwaladr - Plaid Cymru demands of Welsh Government
“Firm belief” that statements made by First Minister and Vaughan Gething “were not an accurate representation of the facts”
Information seen exclusively by Plaid Cymru indicates that Welsh Government did not “accurately represent the facts” over their reasons for taking Betsi Cadwaladr health board out of special measures in November 2020.
At the time, the former Health Minister Vaughan Gething said “the chief exec of NHS Wales, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Audit Wales have given clear advice that Betsi Cadwaladr should move out of special measures, and that is the basis for my decision.”
Just this year, the First Minister is on record confirming that the decision was taken “because we were advised that that is what we should do by the auditor general…”
However, in a letter to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Crompton, confirms “In response to your specific question on whether there was advice from me or my staff to the Minister to de-escalate the Health Board from Special Measures at that time, I can be very clear, there was not.”
The Welsh Government’s Ministerial code of ethics states that “It is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to the Senedd, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS wrote to the First Minister to seek a resolution to the matter, but the First Minister has dismissed Plaid Cymru’s calls to correct the record.
Due to the gravity of the matter, and the fact that it is in the public interest to make this information freely available, Plaid Cymru has today (Tuesday 18 April) published the letter from the Auditor General to Adam Price, which confirms that no such advice came from Audit Wales to de-escalate the health board from special measures.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s health and care spokesperson, said:
“The most important thing to me, and to Plaid Cymru, is to seek better provision of healthcare in the north. Undoubtedly, the staff, patients and wider population in the north of Wales deserve better from their health board and from the government that has been managing it for so long.
“Questions have long been raised over the timing of taking Betsi Cadwaladr out of special measures – conveniently before the 2021 Senedd election. But any attempt to query this with Welsh Government was firmly batted away. In fact, it was claimed – by the First Minister no less – that the Auditor General advised the health board ‘should’ be taken out of special measures.
“We now have evidence that Welsh Government received no such advice from the Auditor General. Plaid Cymru, as an opposition party, is duty bound to question this apparent contradiction. We were prepared to give the First Minister fair opportunity to put forward steps to rectify this situation, but the lack of adequate response, and the depth of public interest in the matter means that we have to bring this into the public domain.
“Now, more than ever, upholding the values of integrity, honesty and transparency in public life couldn’t be more important.”