Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Arfon Siân Gwenllian has accused Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Labour Welsh Government of ‘managerial incompetency’ and overseeing a flawed consultation process in respect of removing vascular services from Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.
Questioning Lesley Griffiths in the Senedd (standing in for First Minister Mark Drakeford who was attending a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to mark 50 years since Prince Charles’ investiture), Siân Gwenllian AM sought clarity as to when the decision was taken to remove emergency vascular services from Ysbyty Gwynedd, having previously been reassured that emergency provisions would remain at the Bangor site.
In response, Lesley Griffiths admitted that a letter sent out by the Health Board to GPs, and which formed part of the Health Board’s Agenda Papers ‘gave rise to confusion’ and ‘should have been more explicit’, leading many to wrongly conclude that emergency vascular provisions at Ysbyty Gwynedd was safeguarded.
Responding to a question from Siân Gwenllian AM, Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths, standing in for First Minster Mark Drakeford at First Minister’s Questions said,
‘A paper did go the Board on 1st March 2018 which stated that ‘patients with diseases of the lower limbs relating to circulation will be managed at both Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and the limb salvage unit as Ysbyty Gwynedd, with provision for elective and emergency admissions and in-patient treatments at both sites.'
‘I think it’s that sentence that has given rise to the confusion. The Paper should have made it more explicit that the provision for elective and emergency admissions to Ysbyty Gwynedd related to diabetic foot and non-arterial cases. Arterial cases will go to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd…You ask about the letter that was sent to GPs and again that letter was sent with the same wording and hence I’m guessing the same confusion was caused.’
Siân Gwenllian AM said,
‘Today the Welsh Labour Government admitted that the public were misled over the future of the world-renowned emergency vascular services at my local hospital in Bangor, conceding that mistakes were made in communicating their intention to remove the service.’
‘I have repeatedly sought clarity from both Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and the Welsh Labour Government about the future of this vital local service, serving a dispersed geographical area, reliant on quick access to lifesaving treatment.’
‘The so-called ‘consultation process’ has been riddled with deficiencies from the outset; broken promises, misleading statements and deliberate opaqueness.’
‘Now we have further evidence of the complete ineptitude of the Welsh Government to manage a public consultation of such significance.’
‘The buck ultimately stops with the Welsh Government who after all, have been running Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board since it was put in special measures in 2015.’