The troubling state of healthcare services in North Wales was raised this week in a meeting between local Conservative MPs and the North Wales Community Health Council (CHC).
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) was lifted out of special measures in November 2020. Regional Conservative MPs are deeply concerned by the evidence in their inboxes of an ongoing crisis in healthcare provision, with increasingly shocking accounts of difficult access, failing services and poor patient outcomes. As part of an ongoing exploration of these concerns, Sarah Atherton (Wrexham), Simon Baynes (Clwyd South), Virginia Crosbie (Ynys Môn), Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd), David Jones (Clwyd West) and Robin Millar (Aberconwy) invited senior CHC representatives to Parliament on Tuesday, 8th March.
During the meeting, MPs praised the commitment of staff within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) area, but highlighted their constituents’ serious concerns regarding access, delivery, Welsh Government funding and oversight of services. Fears were also shared about whether patients’ voices were being heard.
Discussion ranged from individual cases through to the recent damning report of the Royal College of Surgeons on Vascular Surgery treatment in the Health Board area (Tough stance to address Health Board’s vascular service failings welcomed | Dr James Davies). This is just the latest in a worrying run of official reports on the state of some local services, including long-standing issues relating to the capacity and quality of mental health services in North Wales.
CHC representatives set out their own concerns and frustrations regarding local healthcare. Having spoken with patients, clinical practitioners and management, the CHC echoed the MPs’ view that urgent action is needed to ensure the safe and high quality treatment of patients across North Wales.
Community Health Councils are independent bodies, set up by law, to provide a voice for patients by visiting health services, hearing from patients about their experiences and by providing an independent complaints advocacy service.
The North Wales Conservative MPs have also invited the General Medical Council, the North Wales (East and Central) Coroner, Audit Wales and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales to meet with them. The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has been invited to meet but has declined.
North Wales’s Conservative MPs will continue to work with stakeholders outside and within Parliament to ensure parity of healthcare for all British citizens and residents.