Plaid Cymru accuse former Health Minister of failing North Wales patients

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was put into Special Measures in 2015 after a series of problems, including financial woes, reports of management failings, growing waiting lists, and a damning report into a mental health unit. It was de-escalated prematurely in early 2020.


Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor has accused the former Health Minister and current First Minister of putting the health of people in north Wales at risk for political purposes ahead of the 2021 Senedd election when it was clear that the health board was not ready to be pulled out of Special measures.


These accusations follow the publication of a damning report into Mental Health and Learning Disability services in Betsi Cadwaladr University health Board conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists between May and December 2023.


The report authors looked at four key reports into mental health care in north Wales conducted between 2014 and 2018, finding that just over a third (36%) of recommendations to improve services had been completed fully.


Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said:

“This is a damning report. People’s health and wellbeing has been put at risk because of failures to put right decades old mistakes. BCUHB was put into Special Measures in large part because of serious concerns around Mental Health care. This report shows that they were on a path to putting things right but before they could complete the work required progress was stopped because of the decision of the then Health Minister to de-escalate the Health Board’s Special Measures status for political purposes.

“Vaughan Gething’s fingerprints are all over the abject failure to sort out the most pressing and fundamental issues within the NHS in Wales. We know from the UK Covid Inquiry that Vaughan Gething took his eye off the ball in terms of pandemic preparedness, but we now know that his complacent attitude was no isolated incident.

“The Health Board has questions to answer and must make this a priority, but more worrying is the fact that the political messaging back in 2020 was that things were OK when they clearly were not. This shows a shocking disregard for the wellbeing of the people of north Wales and the First Minister must immediately rectify this by ensuring that the funding and support is given immediately to resolve these outstanding issues. This happened on is watch and I’m afraid that I have little confidence that the current First Minister will do anything to fix this.”


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