The First Minister has refused to guarantee that ‘special measures’ will be lifted on Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board before he leaves office in December.
It calls into question his claim in a BBC interview that he will leave his post with nothing left “unfinished”.
The First Minister’s decision to stand down has already cast fresh doubt on a number of key Welsh Government policies, including local government reforms and the M4 relief road, but the problems at the north Wales health board will be the biggest “stain on Carwyn’s legacy” according to Andrew RT Davies.
Mr Davies pressed the outgoing First Minister on a timeline for lifting special measures status from the beleaguered health board, but he was unwilling to give a timeline by which residents in the region could expect to receive service as ‘normal’.
According to a new report published last week, serious problems on the Tawel Fan Ward can be traced back to the creation of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in 2009 – a decision taken by the One Wales Government led by Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru.
The report found that the Welsh Government’s controversial reorganisation resulted in chaotic management at the new health board, with:
- Lines of accountability “impossible to track”;
- A rift between the health board and ward in how to deal with patient safety;
- “Seriously flawed” clinical policy
- And Senior Nurse leaders who were “disrespected and ignored”.
Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies – said:
“There is a clear power vacuum at the heart of Welsh Government, and it is fast becoming clear that the First Minister no longer has the authority to take big decisions.
“For north Wales residents it means at least six more months in limbo, and it is hugely disappointing that there appears to be no end to this nightmare of special measures status.
“Ministers clearly lack confidence in the state of affairs at the health board – despite having been in special measures for three long years – and last week’s report places the blame for the problems at Tawel Fan firmly in the hands of a reorganisation the First Minister oversaw.
“The Welsh Labour Government’s management of the NHS in Wales is likely to be the single biggest stain on Carwyn’s legacy, and with no end in sight to government intervention, it makes his claim that there will be no “unfinished business” look ridiculous.”