North Wales’s Conservative MPs – Simon Baynes (Clwyd South), Virginia Crosbie (Ynys Môn), James Davies (Vale of Clwyd), David Jones (Clwyd West), Robin Millar (Aberconwy) and myself – have met with representatives from the North Wales Community Health Council (CHC) to discuss healthcare services across the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area.
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. We invited the North Wales CHC to Parliament as part of our ongoing efforts to hear from healthcare stakeholders about the challenges faced by patients across the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area.
During the meeting, we discussed the long-term concerns with healthcare accessibility and provision in the region, and recent reports – such as that into vascular services – about failings in healthcare services. We also reiterated that the responsibility for healthcare services rested with the Welsh Government but that since the Welsh Government lifted the health board out of special measures the experiences for patients has deteriorated further, with increasingly shocking accounts of poor services and patient outcomes. As a result, it was agreed that North Wales’s MPs should continue to work with stakeholders and within Parliament to improve services.
As a group, we have also invited other stakeholders, including the General Medical Council, Audit Wales and Health Improvement Wales, to meet with them to discuss healthcare in the region. The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales was invited to meet but declined.
Health continues to be a huge issue for residents of Wrexham and across North Wales and I was pleased that North Wales’s Conservative MPs were able to sit down, as a group, with the Community Health Council to discuss the deteriorating situation. It was worrying to hear from the North Wales CHC about the scale of the problem, from clinicians feeling unsafe doing their jobs, to compromised patient safety and the inability of the health board to make progress due to Welsh Government oversight.
Importantly, this meeting also showed that, even though healthcare is devolved to the Welsh Government, North Wales’s Conservative MPs are committed to fighting for better services for their residents. We all want to make sure that our constituents have access to excellent healthcare but, sadly, at the moment they do not. There is no easy answer for solving the healthcare crisis, but the situation needs to change and we will do all we can to challenge the Welsh Government to make improvements.
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