Cwm Taf: Health minister survives no-confidence vote

Vaughan Gething
Image caption Vaughan Gething has said he is determined to see improvements to the services

Wales’ health minister has survived a Plaid Cymru no-confidence motion in him after severe failings were uncovered at Cwm Taf’s maternity services.

The opposition party called the vote on Vaughan Gething’s position after a report commissioned by him concluded the services were “dysfunctional”.

Plaid AM Helen Mary Jones said “no-one has been held to account” for this and other serious NHS problems.

But AMs backed a Labour amendment removing criticism of Mr Gething.

The minister, who has rejected calls to quit, put services into special measures last week when failings were exposed at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles hospitals in the south Wales valleys.

The review was prompted by 25 serious incidents, including eight stillbirths and five neonatal deaths, between January 2016 and last September.

Introducing the no-confidence motion, Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman Ms Jones said Mr Gething had “left in place all those senior individuals who presided over the development of this disastrous culture”.

“We have to be able to rely on a health minister to provide the service with really robust challenge, to insure that where there is failure it is addressed and where there is best practice it is shared,” she said.

“Instead we have a series of serious failings with no-one held to account. There must be accountability for this series of failings and for the inadequate response to them.”

Image caption Helen Mary Jones said the no-confidence motion was a matter of “upmost seriousness”

Acting Conservative health spokesman Darren Millar has already called for senior figures at Cwm Taf health board and Mr Gething to be dismissed.

“When a board fails in its basic governance arrangements, the person responsible for those governance arrangements in the board, the chair, should leave,” he told AMs.

“When a chief executive fails to show the leadership required to set the culture in an organisation, to make it open and transparent and to learn from mistakes, she ought to go.

“We’ve seen no resignations for these sort of failings and I would like to see people accept responsibility.”

Addressing the minister directly, Mr Millar added: “It’s about time we saw an accountable health service in Wales, we don’t have one at the moment under your leadership.”

Image caption Darren Millar said he had lost confidence in the minister’s ability to do his job

Defending his actions, Mr Gething said “the improvement we all seek must be rapid and sustained”.

“That will be the driving force that guides my actions as I discharge my responsibilities,” he said.

“I’m determined that the whole of NHS Wales learns from these system failures. I’ll make that clear to health board chairs when I meet them tomorrow.”

But he said he would “not look for an alternative scalp for my benefit to give false assurance, to give a false impression of a quick fix that would do little to deliver the improvements that women and their families expect and deserve”.

“I believe that women and their families who’ve been let down, women and their families who still need maternity services must be our focus, they certainly are mine,” he added.

The Labour Welsh Government had been expected to defeat the no-confidence motion.

Out of the 60 AMs, 29 are Labour but the Welsh Government also includes Liberal Democrat AM and Education Minister Kirsty Williams and independent Lord Elis-Thomas, the deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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