Complaints made against the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have highlighted concerns over ongoing abuse and violence occurring in mental health wards of the board which has been special measures since 2013.
Data obtained by the Welsh Conservatives through a freedom of information request shows that, since 2013, the health board has received 294 complaints related to the welfare of mental health patients being treated in wards under their control.
The board has received 40 complaints of abusive, violent, disruptive and self-harming behaviour since the Welsh Government took control of it in 2013. The Hergest Unit in Bangor has seen a 100% increase in complaints of the same nature since the board was put into special measures.
Grievances reached their peak in 2015 when the board received 115 complaints relating to mental health care over a-12 month period.
In May 2015, a report published by independent health expert Donna Ockenden revealed that patients in Betsi Cadwaladr mental health wards had suffered ‘institutional abuse’ at the hands of staff.
Angela Burns AM, Welsh Conservatives Shadow Health Secretary said:
‘The data we have seen relating to the welfare of mental health patients under the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is deeply concerning, particularly when you take into account that these problems have been known since 2013.
‘For too long conditions have seen no real improvement, and in some cases they have worsened.
‘Mental health is not an area for complacency, and the Welsh Government must urgently review their approach to a matter which concerns some of the most vulnerable members of our society.’
Darren Millar AM commented:
‘The original Tawel Fan report revealed shocking failures in the care of mental health patients, and described institutional abuse by those in positions of trust.
‘It is vital that the investigations into these issues are thorough so that those responsible can be held accountable for their part in what went wrong.
‘We are now almost two years into special measures at the Health Board and it is a concern that the number of complaints about mental health services has been rising over this time.
‘The Welsh Government and the Healthcare Inspectorate have a great deal of work to do I restore confidence in these services.’
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