North West Wales

NHS charity Awyr Las probe 'a matter of urgency'

Ysbyty Gwynedd Image copyright Google
Image caption Awyr Las is based at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor

The spending of an NHS charity is being investigated as a "matter of urgency" by the Charity Commission.

Awyr Las, run by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, is under scrutiny after pledging £450,000 to pay for an NHS staff engagement scheme.

The Charity Commission said it would assess if the pledge had been made "in line with legal duties as a trustee and the charity's best interests".

Awyr Las issued a statement saying the process was "transparent and open".

The charity - meaning Blue Skies - was referred to the commission by Conservative AM for Aberconwy, Janet Finch-Saunders.

The money was promised as part of a bid to lift the health board out of special measures and Awyr Las, which is run out of Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, receives donations to provide everything from life-changing equipment to comfy chairs in emergency departments.

The health board agreed the expenditure in 2016 as part of the improvements the Welsh Government said it had to make.

Awyr Las has denied donations intended for hospital equipment had been sent on staff training.

It said: "It is important to be absolutely clear about this: no donations given specifically to wards, departments or other designated funds have been - or ever will be - put towards the staff engagement fund."

The statement added £450,000 - the equivalent of £15 per staff member per year - had been committed by the Charitable Funds Committee to support staff engagement, but this money had been scrutinised by the Charitable Funds Advisory group.

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