AM slates lack of progress following Tawel Fan scandal

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has challenged the Welsh Health Minister over the lack of progress on improving mental health services in North Wales following the Tawel Fan scandal.

Speaking in the Senedd last week, Darren said despite assurances of improvements in light of the scandal, there is little evidence of headway.    

Questioning the Health Minister, Vaughan Gethings AM, he said;

“We were assured that there was going to be a rapid improvement in mental health services in North Wales as a result of the Tawel Fan scandal, but is now more than four years since the initial Ockenden report was received by the board and little appears to have changed.

“When the Health Board was put into special measures we were told that there was a 100-day plan to turn things around. The100 days came and went without any progress. We know that Donna Ockenden, the initial author of the report that exposed the rot in mental health services in North Wales, expressed concerns as recently as last summer - and even earlier this year in the public domain - about the lack of progress. In fact, she was citing staff members who said that the situation had gotten even worse.

“When can we expect to see some tangible difference for patients on the ground? Because I'm afraid that the lack of progress has added insult to injury to those families who were affected by the scandal.”

In his reply, the Minister stated: “I don't expect there to be any significant move forward in special measures unless and until the health board meets the milestones that I have set out in the special measures improvement framework. I will get advice from the Wales Audit Office and the Inspectorate as to whether they have done so. No decision will be made that is convenient for any politician in this Chamber, unless it is a decision that is right for people in North Wales and backed up by evidence”.

Darren added: “The Tawel Fan report exposed very serious failings in care and sickening mistreatment at the hands of those who patients and their families should be able to trust. Four years on, it is appalling that services still aren’t up to scratch.”