Another health board intervention prompts serious concerns about health services in Wales

A decision by the Welsh Government to intervene in a South Wales health board has prompted concerns over the Welsh Government’s management of the NHS.

In a statement today, the Welsh Government confirmed that Cwm Taf Health Board has been placed under enhanced monitoring arrangements.

The move follows issues experienced in the health board’s maternity units, where 20 stillbirths and six cases of babies dying shortly after being born, were recorded in under three years.

The decision leaves five out of seven Welsh health boards currently subject to Welsh Government intervention with Hywel Dda, Cardiff and Vale, and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health boards in “targeted intervention”, while North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr health board has been at the highest level of intervention, ‘Special Measures’, since June 2015.

The statement from the Welsh Health Minister stated areas of concern also included governance arrangements, the quality of serious incident reporting, staffing shortages, and potential failures to follow up on actions to comply with inspections.

Following the statement, Welsh Conservative AM Darren Millar questioned Mr Gething on the matter during the Assembly’s Health Questions, stating the Health Minister’s decision to escalate monitoring was long overdue.

Outside the Chamber, Mr Millar said:

“While I am pleased to see the Welsh Government finally giving the situation in Cwm Taf health board more attention, I am concerned that three quarters of the Welsh population are being served by health boards in which failings have been identified.

“Given the length of time that some of these health boards have been subject to intervention many patients across Wales will wonder whether the Welsh Government has either the capacity or the ability to turn poor performance around.

“Welsh Labour have been running the NHS in Wales since 1999, but they are running it into the ground. We need a change of approach to performance management if we are to secure the improvements that the people of Wales deserve.”