In response to another critical report on the state of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd’s A&E department, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd said:
“It’s no surprise that there aren’t major improvements happening in our health service when existing staff are so over-stretched and the right package is not in place to retain and recruit new health professionals. The problem has intensified due to the pressures of the Covid pandemic but this is nothing new, I’m afraid. It’s not very helpful to have senior management apologising once again for the same old problems.
“So rather than lament the situation, I think we need some fresh thinking. There is a window of opportunity now with a new chair of the health board in the North, a new chief executive incoming and the potential for a radical rethink rather than simply repeating the mistakes of the past decade.
“I hope the various pay disputes can be resolved very soon so that health professionals can have confidence that funding is in place to retain and recruit more staff. There are positive signs in terms of training in the North with increased places for doctors, nurses and other staff in place in both Bangor and Wrexham. Identifying short-term wins and putting in place a plan to deal with longer-term problems is a key challenge for the board – they have to be better at ensuring people don’t turn to A&E as a first resort because GP practices are unable to see patients.
“Too often, I’m hearing from patients who have called 111 for advice and been told to see their GP for an examination at once. The problem is then that, in too many parts of the North, their family doctor is unable to see them and, as the problem intensifies, they then have little option but to present at A&E. It’s a vicious circle that is putting undue strain on A&E departments across the North.”
Mr Gruffydd said he wanted to bring together all those interested in improving the NHS in the North to start that process of finding solutions rather than repeating the mistakes of the past.
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn and Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Health and Care added:
“This is another in a series of damning reports for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and my first thoughts are with the frontline staff who continue to work tirelessly in such challenging conditions.
“Questions have to be raised on what exactly Welsh Government have been doing through their targeted intervention in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, and why is it not leading to the improvements that we need to see being made?
“All the while we have a Health Minister that is denying that the NHS in north Wales is broken, whilst also denying a full inquiry into the mismanagement of BCUHB. It’s clear to me that we cannot keep doing the same thing and expect things to improve by themselves. The patients, staff and people of north Wales deserve better.”