No quick fix, says North Wales health board boss


Staff reporter (Rhyl Journal)

THE head of a under-fire health board has said he cannot guarantee a "quick fix" to issues and challenges.

Dr Peter Higson, chairman of Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board (BCUHB) attended Denbighshire Council’s full council meeting last week.

The health board's former chief executive Mary Burrows was one of three senior health board staff to quit their roles in the summer after a damning report by the Health Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office found significant failings in the running of health services in North Wales.

In response to concerns councillors voted to ask Dr Higson to attend this month's meeting.

Speaking during the meeting he said: "We must demonstrate accountability and reconnect with the local people and organisations.

“We can not guarantee a quick fix with some of the issues and challenges facing the board and some of them go back to beginning in 2009 when Betsi was set up.
“We must improve the overall quality of services we provide and be more transparent, we have started this and we must continue.

“We must realise when things are going well and when mistakes have been made, and we must then show how we will make it better.”

Dr Higson was appointed as chairman in October to help with the recent NHS crisis in North Wales and new chief executive will be appointed in late March.

Dr Higson said the health board's new medical director has already made a big impact.
Councillor Alice Jones asked the chairman to ensure that high quality and respect from staff is put back into the hospital service.

She told Dr Higson: “The service is almost as if you are in a supermarket buying cans.

“I will ask you to enhance care, we see community hospital are not the answer but I would like to increase beds until care in community is established and organised to a high standard.”

Dr Hisgon replied: “We need to support staff and those who not up to scratch will be retrained, majority are good but those who fall below standard will receive help and support.

“We must also look are how we use all our beds. Unfortunately there has been a gap between things closing and things starting I would prefer things to start before they shut.”

He also said the board need to work on primary care and out of hours doctor services as “people do not have the faith in them”.

Dr Higson said he will look into a proposal from Rhyl councillor Barry Mellor for the new community hospital in Rhyl, which will replace the Royal Alexandra Hospital, could have a small A and E to help reduce pressure on Glan Clwyd Hospital.

The chairman also said he will be looking into the car parking situation at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

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