The Rhondda AM has called upon the Labour politician in charge of the Welsh NHS to stop passing the buck following serious failings at a maternity department.
Leanne Wood was speaking during a fiery debate on a ‘No Confidence’ motion in Health Minister Vaughan Gething at the Senedd following the publication of damning reports into the Cwm Taf University Health Board maternity department.
An inquiry was ordered into maternity operations at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr, after details of 25 serious incidents, including eight stillbirths and five neonatal deaths emerged. As well as the under reporting of serious incidents, services were found to be “dysfunctional.”
Despite the seriousness of the findings, not one resignation has been tendered within the Labour Government in Wales or the senior management team of Cwm Taf University Health Board.
Speaking in the Senedd, Leanne said: “It's been a deeply upsetting week for anyone who has read or been involved with the royal college's review of maternity services in Cwm Taf. The testimonies of the mothers whose babies died cannot but move any of us, and the way they've been treated is enough to make anyone angry.”
She added: “The crux of the problem here is that people, mainly working-class women, have been dismissed, and here was the health Minister doing that all over again. But holding the Minister to account does not mean that those responsible at the health board should also not be held to account—of course they should—and right up until last week, there were questions over their actions.
“In October last year, before the external review was commissioned, a Cwm Taf spokesperson told the media that their internal review was a routine exercise about whether things should be done differently. At the very same time, the health board were in possession of an internal report that said that things were far worse.
“Where is the transparency here? Hiding that report was misleading us: evidence that the board is more interested in defending its reputation than correcting the problems within the service.”
Leanne finished her contribution by saying: “Let's contrast the behaviour of the health Minister here over the past week with that of the former health minister in Tunisia. In March of this year, 11 babies tragically died in a hospital in Tunis, following an infection outbreak attributed to poor practices on the ward.
“The health minister in Tunisia looked at his conscience, took responsibility and resigned, despite only having been in the post for four months. It's time that we applied those standards of accountability and responsibility here. I think it definitely is.”
The motion of ‘no confidence’ in the Health Minister failed as his Labour Party colleagues voted against it.
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