Apology over 'shameful' mental health ward scandal

Image caption,
The Tawel Fan ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital was closed in 2013

Health officials have publicly apologised to relatives of patients at a former dementia ward that became the focus of abuse allegations.

The Tawel Fan ward at Denbighshire's Glan Clwyd Hospital was closed in 2013.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board met earlier to discuss the latest critical report into events surrounding the mental health unit.

The board's chairman said the "shameful things that have happened" cannot be forgotten.

In 2015, a report by health expert Donna Ockenden described relatives finding patients being treated like animals.

Earlier this year another report dismissed claims there had been institutional abuse, but was scathing about aspects of care and governance.

A second report by Ms Ockenden, published last month, examined management at the health board and described its leadership as "wholly inappropriate and significantly flawed".

Health chiefs said they were determined to address the issues raised by the reports.

Medical director Evan Moore said: "Many of our current challenges stem from historic issues which will not be overcome in a matter of weeks.

"There is much work to do to embed improvements across the whole organisation and this will involve shifting cultures to embrace change for the good of the people we serve."

Gill Harris, who is in charge of nursing, responded directly to one relative at the meeting in Colwyn Bay, who asked if the board had properly apologised for what happened at Tawel Fan.

"Where we have caused harm and distress, I am sorry, and I want to make things better," she said.

The board's outgoing chairman Peter Higson added: "Can I repeat that apology on behalf of the whole board; I've publicly apologised before and it's important we keep remembering the shameful things that have happened."

Image caption,
The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board remains under special measures

The health board has remained in special measures, with direct Welsh government control, since 2015 following the concerns about leadership.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething announced on Thursday an extra £7m in funding to help deliver improvements in services highlighted by the Tawel Fan reports.

The cash will go towards improving unscheduled care services in Wrexham, Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, and improving mental health provision in the region.

"I expect to see significant improvements for patients as a result, especially in planned and unscheduled care across north Wales," said Mr Gething.

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