CALLS mount for a scathing report into financial dealings at the health board to be published. 

Mark Isherwood, North Wales MS and Chair of the Senedd’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee (PAPAC), is the latest in a long line of politicians calling for The Ernst & Young (EY) report to be shared. 

Darren Millar, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for North Wales and MS for Clwyd West, said the damming report exposes "unacceptable and allegedly criminal practices by senior executives and managers in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and beyond."

During Wednesday's (June 7) Welsh Conservatives Debate at the Senedd, Mr Isherwood, who is vowing to "do all he can" to obtain a copy of the report, said: "As PAPAC Chair, I have been in discussions with the health board for some weeks to obtain a copy of this report for formal Committee scrutiny.

“We have offered to discuss various options regarding how this report can be shared with us to ensure that any ongoing investigations are not impeded.

“I am committed to working with the health board to secure a copy of this report through official channels as soon as possible.

“We are all aware of the public interest in these matters and it is frustrating that while the contents of the report have been detailed in the public domain, PAPAC has not been afforded the opportunity to conduct appropriate scrutiny.

“It is imperative that our request is dealt with expediently, to allow prompt and thorough scrutiny by PAPAC.


“In the event the report is not made available to the Committee, we will explore our Powers to Call under section 37 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. However, I hope we will not need to exercise this legal power and expect the health board to recognise the respect that is due to a national legislature, on a significant matter such as this.”

Ken Skates, Clwyd South MS, said the report had caused "enormous interest in North Wales."

He added: “The report is owned by the board, and the board must rebuild public trust in the organisation. To build trust, you must provide the truth and be transparent. The board should not be asking for legal advice over whether to publish the report, but instead seek legal advice over when and in what form it should be published, in a form and at a point that will not prejudice any disciplinary action that may have been initiated or may yet be initiated.

“I’d also urge the board to publish the legal advice it received, so the public can enjoy maximum transparency.”

Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, said that the Welsh Government "does have levers at its disposal to ensure that the report is published."

She commented: “Leadership has been a failure for at least seven years, so there is a real chance that the findings in the Ernst & Young report could be seen in financial years prior to those reviewed.

"By refusing to support reasonable Welsh Conservative calls for complete transparency and an independent review, the Welsh Government is protecting failed leadership and eroding whatever confidence there is left in North Wales.”

Wales' Health Minister Eluned Morgan re-iterated to members of the Senedd on Wednesday that: "This was not our [the Welsh Goverment] report, so I can’t ask for it to be published.

"Any decision to publish any or all of the report is a matter for the health board.”

Ms Morgan said that if the legal advice to BCUHB is to publish the report "in full or in part, that is what they will do".

The minister said her department is working with the health board on the development of a financial governance and management action plan as part of the special measures framework.

She said: “North Wales Police has yet to confirm whether it considers there are grounds to launch an investigation into claims made in the report. I know the police have had early discussions with NHS counter-fraud service and the health board and that the health board is co-operating."


A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is awaiting legal advice on whether or not they can release the report. They are also taking forward issues raised in the Ernst & Young report in line with its procedures and policies. This follows the conclusion of the NHS Counter Fraud Wales investigation connected to the Auditor General’s qualified opinion of the health board’s 2021-22 financial accounts. 

"We do not comment on leaked documents, particularly when, as in this case, internal procedures are still ongoing.”

Dyfed Edwards, Chair of BCUHB, said: “We are seeking legal advice regarding our ability to share this report and wish to do all that is possible to cooperate with interested parties in a spirit of openness. In dealing with such sensitive issues, it is important that we strike an appropriate balance between transparency and the duty of care we have to our staff”