A REPORT into the Health Board in north Wales says progress is being made, but "fundamental challenges" still need addressing.

A report from Audit Wales into Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) found that it was "making progress to move on from dysfunctionality found within its board one year ago".

After a period of significant disruption in 2023, where it was placed in special measures, there were accusations of fraud and several board members departed.

The report states the board is now in a more stable position and working relationships amongst senior leaders are more positive overall.

READ MORE: Concerns raised as fraud probe into north Wales health board dropped

Despite the improvement, Audit Wales says there are still fundamental challenges to address, including building a high-performing executive team, recruiting substantively to remaining posts on the board, and ensuring the new board demonstrates the unified and effective leadership that is needed to tackle the challenges the organisation faces.

In February 2023, the Auditor General published a report in the public interest that described a worrying level of dysfunctionality within the board at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

The report highlighted a need for immediate action to address fractured working relationships between the health board’s senior leaders that were fundamentally compromising the board’s ability to tackle the substantial challenges the organisation faces.

Following significant changes to the board membership over the last 12 months, and a period of upheaval and churn, the follow-up report states the dysfunctionality previously reported is "no longer present", and a new Chair and Chief Executive are providing "refreshed and focused leadership to tackle the organisation’s challenges". 

Recommendations include work must continue to build a cohesive and high-performing executive team and to move as quickly as possible to a position where the board has a full complement of substantive executive directors and independent members.

Governance structures that were stood down in 2023 following the resignation of the previous independent members need to be "built back up" and the issues that led to the suspension of staff in the finance team need to be resolved.

The report highlights the "crucial" need for the organisation to develop its internal capacity and resilience to sustain improvement without requiring continual external support.

Adrian Crompton, Auditor General, said: “It’s assuring to see that the dysfunction within the health board’s senior leadership that we described last year is no longer present. There is now a need for the board to build upon this progress and provide the unified organisational leadership that is needed to address the significant and on-going challenges facing the health board.”


Dyfed Edwards, Chair of BCUHB said: “I welcome this report which acknowledges the progress the health board has made over the past year. I fully understand that there is much more to be done as we continue on our improvement journey in order to ensure excellent healthcare services for the people of north Wales.

“I see the Audit Wales report as a milestone to show we are moving in the right direction. Over the last 12 months we have worked to create stability and a positive and supportive culture within the health board, whilst focusing on quality of service provision and reaching out to patients and the public we serve.

"We now have a firm foundation to build on, with a new Chief Executive and new Board members in place who are committed to improving our governance, our financial management and ultimately improving our focus on quality and the experience of the patient and their families.

“I am grateful for the support of our partners and Government in all our efforts.”