Following news just days before Christmas that a multi-million pound fraud investigation has begun at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Shadow Minister for North Wales and Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has called for an opportunity to question to Health Minister over actions being taken to deal with the alarming situation.
Specialist investigators have been called in to the troubled health board after auditors discovered at least £122m was allegedly not properly accounted for.
Issues were first uncovered earlier in 2022 when auditors found a number of "significant errors" in the health board's account for the 2021-22 financial year.
They allegedly found there was £72m of unpaid invoices and bills listed in the accounts, but could not find evidence that they existed.
Overall, auditors are said to have raised concerns that £122m of expenditure was not properly accounted for.
Raising concerns about the situation in this week’s Business Statement in the Senedd, Darren said:
“Can I call for a statement from your colleague, the Minister for Health and Social Services, in relation to the situation at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board?
“Members will be aware that there was some discussion in the media about a £122 million fraud investigation that is being undertaken by NHS counter-fraud at the moment, alongside a review by Audit Wales of board effectiveness.
“These are matters of concern for a Health Board that we know was already struggling to perform and deliver its services at a standard that the people of North Wales deserve, and I do think that we need an opportunity to question in this Chamber the Minister on the action that is being taken, in order that we can be confident that it is appropriate.”
Responding, the Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths MS, said:
“In relation to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, you will be aware that there is a process to go through, and I'm sure that the Minister for Health and Social Services will update us at the most appropriate time, but I do not think that that will be before next month.”
Speaking afterwards, Darren said:
“The revelations of fraud investigations and trouble at the top of the Health Board are deeply concerning.
“It has been one bad news story after another with this Health Board and it simply can not continue. As Members with constituents who are affected by repeated failings, we have a right to question the Health Minister over the actions she will be taking to address these issues and hold those responsible to account.”