A review into the deaths which occurred on a scandal-hit mental health ward in North Wales must be published, the Welsh Conservative leader has said.

During First Minister’s Questions today, the Labour leader Carwyn Jones refused to make public a review of mortality rates on the Tawel Fan ward, which falls under the control of Betsi Cadwaladr health board, after Andrew RT Davies challenged him to do so.

The Welsh Labour Government has spent more than £10m in the last two years on keeping the board in special measures. The First Minister has the ultimate authority to publish the review into deaths which occurred on the ward.

The ward, which was closed three years ago after it emerged that mental health patients had been treated “like animals”, is now the focus of a fresh scandal following news last week that substandard quality of care may have contributed to the death of at least seven patients.

A review of mortality rates on the ward has never been published although it is understood to have been completed.

The First Minister gave the Welsh Conservative leader no firm commitments on a publication date but agreed to write the Mr Davies with a timeline for publication.

Mr Davies condemned the Betsi Cadwaladr health board for allowing mental health patients to sleep on waiting room sofas when no beds were available. It is understood that in emergencies, Betsi Cadwaladr health board counts sofas towards their mental health bed capacity.

Speaking outside the Assembly Chamber, Andrew RT Davies said:

“Families have a right to know whether the deaths of their relatives was the cause of substandard care at the hands of staff at the Tawel Fan ward.

“That a review into these deaths has already been completed, I can so no reason why the First Minister should not now make it public, and give much-needed answers to those affected by this protracted scandal.

“I look forward to the First Minister’s letter, which I hope, as agreed, will include a timeline for publication so that at last lessons can be learned, and safeguards can be put in place to ensure that similar failings are never again repeated.”

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