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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Minister challenged over health shake-up

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM has accused the Welsh Government of “being in the dark” over failures at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.
The First Minister of Wales indicated that he knew nothing of governance failures at the health board until a recent report was published.
Leanne Wood said it was concerning that the First Minister had no awareness of these difficulties yet was pushing ahead with radical re-configuration plans.
These include closing four community hospitals, including the one in Llangollen, and moving neonatal intensive care across the border to Arrowe Park.
She also warned that in the Francis Report in England, the Department of Health accepted that it bears some responsibility for the failure of the healthcare system to detect and prevent healthcare deficiencies.
Ms Wood said:  “In recent weeks, three of  Betsi Cadwaladr’s senior people have left and now we see their failure to deal with deadly superbug infections in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and concerns over mental health policies at Ysbyty Bangor.
“Today, consultants told a National Assembly committee that they had no faith in the governance structure and that it is not fit for purpose.
“Yet despite these clearly deep-seated problems of governance and policy the First Minister has apparently only just heard of them. Where has he been?
“Health is completely devolved and the Welsh Government is responsible for it.
“In England, the Francis Report found that the Department of Health accepted some responsibility for the failure of the healthcare system to detect and prevent healthcare deficiencies, such as those at Mid-Staffordshire.
“Using those same principles, the Welsh Government must take responsibility for what has happened at Betsi Cadwaladr.
“While these failures have been taking place, reconfiguration plans for NHS services in the north have been pushed forward, including attempts to move neonatal intensive care over the border to England.  
“There is talk of new plans to change health facilities in the north of Wales, which could include sending more patients across the border to a service that the First Minister himself criticises.
“Given the Welsh Government’s lack of awareness of the problems at Betsi Cadwaladr, they should look again at the reconfiguration proposals. Any reorganisation to the NHS in the North has to put these problems right.”

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