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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Health board comes under fire in high-level report

* The organisation which closed Llangollen Hospital comes under fire in a high-level report.

The chairman and the chief executive of the Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board (BCUHB), which closed Llangollen Hospital earlier this year, are to resign following a damning report, according to a story on the BBC news website this morning (Thursday).

The story says a high-level investigation found "significant management failings" at the board  that are said to have potentially risked patient safety.

As a result, claims the BBC, board chairman Prof Merfyn Jones and chief executive Mary Burrows have announced their intention to resign.

Prof Jones has filmed a statement for the BBC. See

Now, a leading health services campaigner says criticisms in the report cast doubt over the legitimacy of Llangollen's planned new health centre.

BCUHB runs NHS services across north Wales with a budget of around £1.2bn.

Mabon ap Gwynfor of Keep Llangollen Health Services (KLHS), which campaigned to prevent the closure of Llangollen Hospital, said: “The joint report by the Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales is damning.

"It states clearly that the health board lacks “the capacity and capability to provide appropriate levels of scrutiny in relation to service delivery” and, more worryingly, that it has a lack of clinical leadership.

"With the report stating that they are lacking in clinical lead it raises serious questions on the legitimacy of the proposed new health centre. 

“The board's failures have been clearly in evidence with their programme to centralise and downgrade services. The board singularly failed to scrutinise the plans to close our community hospitals, and unfortunately it’s the patients that are suffering, as we are seeing.

“Keep Llangollen Health Services have continued with the campaign to highlight the health board’s weaknesses and fight for hospital beds and an improved health service for this area. 

“This continued pressure by KLHS and our colleagues in other health campaigns across north Wales has contributed to the background of this detailed and damning report which has resulted in this announcement. 

"We have campaigned for our health services not because of any nimbyism but because of our real concern that the proposed plans would damage people's health. This has unfortunately been borne out by patients’ experiences, and it's clear that the Board have been lacking in any sort of leadership more especially a clinical lead.

"The report will come as no comfort to the patients and their loved ones who have suffered because of these failures. But it does raise serious questions about the legitimacy of this whole downgrading programme. 

"If the Health Minister wants to avoid a potential catastrophe he must, as a matter of urgency, step in and suspend the current downgrading and centralisation programme. 

"These plans were nodded through without any challenge by the Board Members in January. Their failure to scrutinise was glaring even to lay members like us. 

"People must be answerable for these serious failures."
Press release from Wales Audit Office:
Full joint report:

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