North West Wales

Six staff suspended at Bryn Hesketh unit, Colwyn Bay

The Bryn Hesketh unit in Colwyn Bay Image copyright Google

Six members of staff have been suspended at a mental health unit in Conwy county borough.

The staff at the Bryn Hesketh unit, Colwyn Bay, were suspended last Thursday, Betsi Cadwaladr health board confirmed.

It follows concerns raised by another member of staff over some aspects of patient care.

The health board, which runs the unit, said an independent investigation has begun.

But it stressed that the suspensions were "a neutral act".

A spokesman said: "We have robust systems and processes in place to monitor the quality and safety of the care being provided at all of our mental health services.

"If a concern is raised by a member of staff there will be an immediate response and it will be escalated as appropriate.

"Last week, a concern relating to one of our older people's mental health units, Bryn Hesketh in Colwyn Bay, was raised. It was escalated to the mental health and learning disabilities management team on the day it was reported.

"We have followed the safeguarding process in line with All Wales Guidance and made a referral to Conwy local authority. To strengthen our processes further, we have secured the services of an independent external investigations officer.

"The investigation involves six members of staff, who, in line with procedure, have been suspended. It is important to stress that this is a neutral act."

The spokesman added that it could not share any further details while the investigation was under way.

Darren Millar, Clwyd West AM, said the allegations were raised on Tuesday last week, and the members of staff were suspended the following Thursday.

He said he had spoken to the health board's chief executive and the unit was still operating as normal with temporary staff to cover any vacancies.

Bryn Hesketh is an EMI (elderly mentally infirm) unit at Colwyn Bay Community Hospital.

It was opened in 1995, and the health board's website describes it as providing "long stay and respite care beds as well as day hospital facilities for the Colwyn Bay locality".

It was one of the mental health units where patients and staff were transferred in December 2013, following the closure of the Tawel Fan psychiatric ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital due to concerns about the quality and safety of patient care.

The health board has not said whether any of the staff suspended last week had previously worked at the Tawel Fan ward.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We have been made aware of the situation by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

"Welsh Government officials have been briefed on the actions taken by the board to ensure patient safety and respond appropriately to allegations of sub-standard care."

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