North West Wales

Ysbyty Gwynedd Hergest unit: Concerns raised by two doctors

Two senior doctors at a mental health unit in Bangor say they are concerned about the way it is being run.

The consultants at the Hergest psychiatric unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd said the health minister needed to take action over the way staff were being treated.

It follows two staff at the unit being sent home last year.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board said the correct procedures were being followed and it was listening to staff.

Doctors Prof David Healy and Dr Tony Roberts have written to Health Minister Mark Drakeford highlighting their concerns.

Consultant Dr Roberts, a former head of the unit, said some senior staff had questioned changes being made at the unit. When the changes were due to be implemented, the nurses in charge of the two main wards were asked to leave.

"They were away for some six weeks," he added.

"During that time the wards were largely leaderless. Other people stepped in but did not know what they were doing. At that time about four of the consultants expressed concerns about safety issues."

More than 40 workers at the unit complained to the health board after the two nursing staff were sent home, he said.

Another senior psychiatrist, Prof David Healy, said the two nurses were still waiting for an explanation about what happened.

"The nursing staff were only re-instated because essentially almost the entire staff at the Hergest unit - medical staff, nursing staff and others said: 'Look this is just not acceptable,'" he added.

'Staff relations'

In December 2013, Health Inspectorate Wales identified a number of problems with management at the unit and the health board devised an action plan to address them.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: "We have listened to staff and will continue to do so.

"When a number of staff came forward with concerns last August, we instigated a comprehensive investigation in line with health board and Welsh government procedure.

"Whilst we cannot comment on any individuals that may have been involved we can confirm that the investigation has concluded, the outcome of which has been disseminated accordingly.

"We are doing a lot of work to improve staff relations and to ensure that everybody's voice is heard.

"Staff training is being prioritised and improved and everyone is encouraged to participate in regular staff meetings so that planning and decision making is done at ward level."

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