Wales politics

Glan Clwyd Hospital: Minister sorry for Tawel Fan scandal

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Media captionMark Drakeford spoke of "gross departures from basic standards of care" at Tawel Fan

Health Minister Mark Drakeford has apologised for failings on a mental health ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

An independent report published last week said patients in the Tawel Fan unit suffered "institutional abuse".

Families said patients were treated like animals in a zoo and ten members of staff have been reported to their professional bodies.

Mr Drakeford said an "urgent meeting" will consider putting Betsi Cadwaladr health board into special measures.

'Gross departures'

This could mean the Welsh government or another body taking over some or all of the board's functions.

The minister apologised for the "gross departures from basic standards of care" as the assembly held an urgent debate on the scandal on Wednesday.

First Minister Carwyn Jones had already promised that disciplinary action would follow.

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said those responsible at Betsi Cadwaladr local health board (LHB) should be sacked without compensation.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have called for the LHB to be placed in special measures, while Plaid Cymru has called for a new "fit and proper person" test to be introduced for hospital managers.

North Wales Police investigated the allegations of mistreatment but said they had decided not to press any charges.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board has already apologised for failings identified in the independent report by health specialist Donna Ockenden published last Thursday.

'Closed' culture

A separate report for next week's meeting of the board says that seven employees have been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and three to the General Medical Council.

Bernie Cuthel, appointed interim director of primary, community and mental health in the wake of the scandal, said the independent report had found evidence of a "closed and inward-looking culture" on the ward.

She said the problem was being tackled "head on" through "challenging workshops" making staff "confront their own behaviour and beliefs".

In contrast, Ms Cuthel noted that Health Inspectorate Wales found good team working, strong leadership and compliments from patients at the Heddfan psychiatric ward at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

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