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Suppressed Holden report reveals “chasm” between senior health bosses and frontline ward staff claims Plaid Cymru

A damning report about a mental health unit that a Betsi Cadwaladr health board kept under wraps for eight years has finally been published – years after Plaid Cymru first called for its release.

It reveals that 42 staff on Hergest Unit in Bangor complained about bullying and intimidation by senior management, lack of staff and poor care standards that were left unaddressed for years.

The whistleblowers came forward to make their complaints after a death on Hergest but practices were not changed sufficiently to prevent further deaths on the unit.

Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd MS has called on the Welsh Government to “step up to act” saying that the problems “didn’t end with this report.”

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for the North Region, said,

“At last the public has had sight of the detail that Betsi Cadwaladr has fought so hard to keep hidden. The whistleblowers have had their wish fulfilled – that the terrible working conditions at the Hergest Unit have been laid bare for all to see, and the tragic consequences have been clearly spelled out.

“Because the culture of bullying and intimidation by senior management didn’t end with this report. Nor did the questions and concerns about patient care end when Betsi Cadwaladr was taken out of special measures – as evidenced by the patient death by suicide in April of this year, whilst in the care of the Hergest Unit.

“This isn’t just about needing reassurance that the lessons of the report have been learned, this is about needing clear evidence that changes have been implemented. Specifically, we need a clear statement from the Health Minister and Betsi Cadwaladr health board that they now have a clear and costed plan to put an end to the outdated practice of mixing functional and older adult patients on the Hergest Unit.

“The issues outlined in the report are not an isolated problem but a more systemic issue. Now the report is finally out in the public domain, we need to know that front line staff’s concerns were listened to, that changes were made and that this can never ever happen again. Because the report doesn’t just describe a gap between front line staff and management – it’s a chasm, and the people that fell between the gaps were the health board’s most vulnerable patients. The Health Minister, who saw this report last year and did not act at the time, must now step up to act upon these findings.”

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