New north Wales health boss to focus on rebuilding trust

Gary Doherty and BCUHB sign Image copyright BCUHB/BBC

The new head of north Wales' health board says he wants to rebuild trust among patients, staff and politicians.

Gary Doherty was named as the new chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on Monday.

The board was put in special measures by the Welsh government in June following a critical report on a mental health ward in Denbighshire.

Mr Doherty has run the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust since 2013.

Speaking on Tuesday, the new health chief said he wanted to see a three to five year recovery plan put in place, and the board taken out of special measures.

Mr Doherty said it can be devastating when "trust isn't well placed and people are let down".

"It's really, really important we get that trust back and I think we can do that," he told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme.

"But equally, I'm under no illusions. It's a big, tough job."

Political 'hot potato'

Betsi Cadwaladr has been under the highest level of Welsh government intervention for six months since the investigation into "institutional abuse" at the Tawel Fan mental health ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan.

It led to the former chief executive Prof Trevor Purt standing aside, and an interim chief executive was appointed by the Welsh health minister.

The Welsh government has already said it expects the health board to remain in special measures for up to two years.

Mr Doherty said he was acutely aware of the political significance of his role and that of the health board.

"It's a really important political issue - and it should be," he said.

"I fully understand how much this means to people, how hot it is politically.

"If we do a good job and I do a good job and we work together with people, then these political concerns and these very personal concerns and individual concerns that people have, we can respond to them and it can be a successful dialogue."

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