As chair of Wrexham Locality of the North Wales Community Council and after the publication of the report of abuse at Tawelfan ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, I think we as a Community Health Council along with the Health Board and Health Inspectorate Wales need to ask the question, "Where do we go from here?" This question is particularly apt following cross party calls in the Assembly for the Health Board to be placed in Special Measures.
Following a request from BBC Cymru today the North Wales Community Health Council issued a particularly strong and robust press release:
The CHC has endeavoured to work co-operatively with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and provide them with assistance and encouragement to address the failings and shortcomings identified in the Joint HIW/WAO report in May 2013. Unfortunately, the Board has not progressed sufficiently rapidly to regain our confidence or the confidence of the public of North Wales and this was confirmed in the follow-up report by HIW/WAO.
The avalanche of adverse reports over the past few months has been unprecedented in my experience of 30 years as a CHC Chief Officer. In the light of the extent of the failings and the failure to improve despite intensive help and support from Welsh Government, the CHC is now of the opinion that a greater level of external support and direction is necessary. This may include “Special Measures”.
The CHC also supports the suggestion that Welsh Government should seriously consider the proposals for a “Fit & Proper Person” certification for NHS Managers in Wales and for enhanced powers for HIW.I fully endorse Geoff Ryall - Harvey's statement and that now is the time to re-visit the regulatory regime that inspects health services. Both the Community Health Council's and Health Inspectorate Wales have a regulatory role but the powers of both are in my opinion totally inadequate for the work that they undertake as is their budget and resources.
I believe that both HIW and CHC complement each other, one is a full time professional inspectorate whilst the CHC have acted as the patient voice and have literally carried out over 500 visits and inspections at North Wales health settings. The 70 odd members of the North Wales CHC are all volunteers supported by full time staff.
It makes no sense whatsoever for the CHC and HIW to be separate organisations and an amalgamation of both would provide better patient outcomes and hopefully prevent another Tawelfan.
It's now over to you Minister!