Posted: Sat 4th Mar 2023

Mark Drakeford urged to sack Health Minister over Betsi Cadwaladr crisis

North Wales news and information

Plaid Cymru has called on First Minister Mark Drakeford to do “the right thing” and sack his Health Minister in light of the ongoing crisis at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), the country’s largest health board. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

On Monday, BCUHB was put back into special measures with eleven independent members of the board resigning after saying they had “no confidence” in the Welsh Government’s grasp of the situation. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Health Minister Eluned Morgan later said it “wasn’t her job to have a grasp” of the situation. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Allegations were also made that the Health Minister told the independent board members “they had 50 minutes to resign or she’d sack them, and in so doing bar them from other public appointments for two years.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Ms Morgan’s decision to dismiss board members has been criticised by many, who argue that the move targets the wrong individuals. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The Health Minister said she had “read the riot act to some of those executives” running BCUHB but “I do not have the power to require executives to step down. I do not employ these people.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Earlier this week, Plaid Cymru health and care spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth called for Ms Morgan to consider her position and reiterated his belief that she had lost the confidence of those served by the health board. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

However, Ms Morgan refused, insisting that she would remain in post “as long as the First Minister had confidence” in her. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Mr ap Iorwerth has called on First Minister Mark Drakeford to remove Ms Morgan, arguing that the “authority to govern flows from the people” and that the minister has “clearly” lost that authority. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Speaking ahead of his speech at the party’s spring conference in Llanelli, Mr ap Iorwerth called for new leadership to address a “catalogue of health failings” at Betsi Cadwaladr. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

He said: “The people of Wales have lost faith in the Health Minister. Time and again, she’s evaded scrutiny and shifted blame onto others when challenged with the disastrous outcomes of her own policies. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“This is particularly true in the north. The patients and staff of Betsi Cadwaladr deserve better from their government. The least they deserve is an apology, but we all need the government to step up and take responsibility for this mess. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“In a democracy, the authority to govern flows from the people. It’s clear Eluned Morgan no longer has that authority. If she’s not willing to take responsibility now, the First Minister should do the right thing on behalf of the people of Wales and remove his Health Minister.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

In a wider criticism of the Welsh government, Mr ap Iorwerth argued that Labour ministers were displaying the same arrogance as Conservative politicians by refusing to accept responsibility for failings. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

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