North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called on the Welsh Government to take action to address the rising levels of complaints against Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and the subsequent cost implications.
A recent report revealed that the North Wales Health Board is currently facing legal claims with a potential value of more than £58m.
Raising the matter in the Assembly Chamber during this week’s Business Statement, Mr Isherwood asked what the Welsh Government proposes to do to address the increasing number of complaints against health boards in Wales.
He said: “I call for a statement in relation to complaints and the charges and rising financial implications of those complaints against health boards in Wales, given the news that Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board could be facing claims costing, potentially, £58 million - a 32% rise - the majority of which relate to clinical negligence.
"We understand that this follows Welsh Government regulations for the handling of complaints by NHS bodies introduced in 2011, which followed the abolition by the former Welsh Government of the independent review forming the second stage of the complaints procedure.
“We know that there has been a damning in-patient survey at Betsi Cadwaladr, produced by the Picker Institute, which showed that BCUHB had scores significantly worse than average in areas including patients not receiving any information explaining how to complain, not receiving copies of letters sent between hospital doctors and their GP and not being asked to give their views on quality of case.
"And we know that all three hospitals in north Wales, and all three hospitals in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, Neath Port Talbot, Princess of Wales and Singleton, where the Chief Executive, Paul Roberts, is leading the response to the critical governance report in Betsi, have mortality rates at levels that, in England, would have put them into special measures.
"In this context, could we have a statement advising us how the Welsh Government proposes to deal with these rising levels of complaints and the cost implications?”
In her reply, the Minister failed to answer Mr Isherwood’s question.