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Monday, February 27, 2023

Local health board put into special measures



Health Minister Eluned Morgan has announced that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be put into special measures because of serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture.

The Chair, Vice Chair and independent members of the Board have agreed they will step aside. 

New independent members will be appointed to the Board to lead the organisation as it continues to rebuild its services following the pandemic.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said: “I have serious concerns around the performance of the health board and I have not seen the improvement in services I expect for the people of north Wales.  I have therefore decided to take action to rectify this.  

“I have informed the Board that I am putting the organisation back into Special Measures with immediate effect. This significant decision is made in line with the escalation framework. It reflects serious concerns about the performance of the organisation, about its governance, and issues with leadership and culture that are holding back progress.

“I recognise that the health board has had significant challenges for a number of years and has worked hard to overcome these challenges. But now is the time for new leadership to deliver the improvements that are needed.”

A number of direct appointments to the Board have been made by the Minister to ensure stability. The non-executive team will be led by Dyfed Edwards as the new Chair of the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, a former leader of Gwynedd Council and the deputy chair of the Welsh Revenue Authority.

The new Chair will focus on renewing the leadership and culture of  the Health Board which will support its workforce to provide safe and effective services for the people of north Wales.

Dyfed will be supported by Gareth Williams, Karen Balmer and Rhian Watcyn Jones as interim independent members of the Board.

Further direct appointments will follow in the next few weeks. A campaign to recruit new independent members to the Board who will take the organisation forward beyond this initial period of stabilisation will commence later this year.   

Key to developing and building a sustainable organisation will be the appointment of the substantive chief executive. The recruitment process for this post is about to start.

The health board will also be supported by an intervention and support team.

Eluned Morgan added: “Every day thousands of people are receiving good care from the NHS in north Wales but there is a large degree of inconsistency in safety, performance and quality across the region, addressing this inconsistency will be the focus of the new board. Whilst special measures will apply to the organisation, I wish to reassure both patients and communities served by the Health Board, as well as the staff working for it, that day to day services and activities will continue, with an increased focus on quality and safety.”

* Gill Harris, Interim Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, sent out this message to patents this afternoon: "Following the publication of the Audit Wales report on Board effectiveness last week and in light of the significant challenges we continue to face, the Health Minister has today announced that the Health Board will be escalated into Special Measures.

"While this is extremely disappointing, I acknowledge that more needs to be done at a greater pace to regain the confidence of our staff and our communities. 

"The increased level of intervention and support that special measures provides will involve working more closely with Welsh Government and the development of an improvement plan with key milestones.

"The arrangements will also involve the creation of a Health Board turnaround team during the coming weeks. Alongside this, our Chair Mark Polin, Vice Chair Lucy Reid and independent Board members have stepped down. The Health Minister will now appoint a new Chair and a number of new independent members to work alongside our Executive Team."

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