Targeted intervention measures at Betsi Cadwalladr Health Board will be expanded to cover Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, the Welsh Government has announced.

The government said that the decision had been taken due to "serious and outstanding concerns" over the leadership and governance of the Rhyl hospital, which has the worst A&E waiting times in Wales.

The measures will see national clinical leads deployed to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd A&E, with the hospital's performance and progress on improving vascular and mental health services also to be monitored.

“This decision reflects serious and outstanding concerns about the leadership, governance and progress in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, including the vascular service and the emergency department," Eluned Morgan, Welsh health minister, said on Tuesday.

“I wish to reassure both patients and communities served by the health board and staff working for it that day to day services will not be negatively impacted.

"However, there are significant areas of concern to be considered by the board.

“Given the seriousness and exceptional nature of this escalation, these arrangements will be monitored closely and reviewed early to ensure progress.”

The announcement comes amid cross-party calls for Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to be put back into special measures.

The healthboard, which covers the north of Wales, was placed in special measures in 2015 as a result of financial problems, reported management failings, growing waiting lists, and a damning report into mental health services.

 "I think it was clearly premature to bring Betsi Cadwaladr out of special measures," Plaid Cymru's health spokesman, Rhun ap Iorwerth, said recently.

"When we were saying 'sort out Betsi Cadwaladr', it didn't mean changing its status, it meant improve services."

Last week further concerns were sparked when it was reported that 12 "never events" -  patient safety incidents that are wholly preventable - occured within northern hospitals over the past year.

These figures were described as "unprecedented" by a senior health figure in the region, who said most of the cases related to surgical safety issues.

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Two of the "never events" reported by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were instances of  "wrong site surgery", where surgical procedures were performed on the wrong patient, the wrong body part, or the wrong side of the body.

A further event involved a swab being left inside a patient.

The Ysybyty Glan Clwyd decision was ade following a tripartite meeting as part of the NHS Wales Escalation Framework.

The Health Minister advised that the health board has been asked to review current governance, audit and effectiveness capacity, and to work with Improvement Cymru to invest in a rapid education and support programme.

Betsi Cadwaladr will also be asked to ensure that a Director of Safety and Improvement appointment is made, with this individual will supporting the new Executive Director of Nursing to "embed improvement and shared governance across the health board."

A further tripartite meeting will take place no later than the end of October 2022. 

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