Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Last Friday (11 February 2022) a tripartite meeting took place between Welsh Government, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Audit Wales to discuss the escalation status of health organisations in NHS Wales.
Particular consideration was given to the escalation level in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, following the publication of part two of an invited service review into vascular services by the Royal College of Surgeons. The first part of this review reported in May of last year (page 456 of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board papers from the meeting held on 20 May 2021).
Members will already be aware that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed in Targeted Intervention in November 2020 for four areas:
- Mental Health (adult and children)
- Strategy, planning and performance
- Leadership (including governance, transformation and culture)
- Engagement (patients, public, staff and partners)
Targeted intervention is a heightened level of escalation that requires significant action on the part of the organisation and is accompanied by a level of continued oversight from my officials.
Following last week’s tripartite meeting and in light of information provided to me by the health board, I have decided to give a clear warning that if the recommendations from the Royal College Reviews are not sufficiently progressed within 3 months there will be consequences.
Let me make clear my reasons for this.
The health board has responded swiftly to the second part of the RCS review and has taken a number of immediate actions including establishing links with Liverpool, setting up a Quality Panel which will be independently chaired and taking steps to strengthen clinical leadership locally. I have received a detailed action plan for immediate implementation and will be receiving monthly reports from the Chair.
I believe it is correct to allow the health board team some time to prove that these measures are making a difference. However, I have made it very plain to the health board that if I do not feel confident that their planned actions are being implemented or if I am not convinced the service is heading in the right direction within the next 3 months, then I will ask the tripartite to convene an additional meeting to consider advice on further escalation measures.