• March 3, 2024

Betsi Cadwaladr: The health board is struggling to recruit a new CEO 2023

Despite “an intensive search” and a £225,000 pay, a struggling health board failed to hire a new CEO.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales has had four leaders in four years.

In February, the Welsh government reinstated special measures due to patient safety concerns.

Management stated a new CEO search had failed.

In autumn 2022, Jo Whitehead retired as CEO.

February 2023 prompted concerns about Betsi Cadwaladr health board management.

Audit Wales found “dysfunctionality and factions” in the senior executive team and “the whole team is not united” around the temporary CEO.

“Clear and deep-seated fractures within the executive team are preventing that team from working effectively” were noted.

Eluned Morgan ordered the health board’s non-executive directors to quit and placed the organization under special measures.

She claimed selecting a new chief executive will improve north Wales’ NHS performance.

“The new chair will lead the recruitment of an individual with necessary vision, leadership and drive to re-build the confidence of the workforce and public,” she added.

According to EY, the health board misaccounted for millions of pounds and finance managers intentionally inserted false entries into their personal accounts.

The health board acknowledged that no one was hired for the chief executive position, which was advertised earlier this year with a pay range of £208,000 to £225,000.

“Critical work”

“Our campaign to recruit a new chief executive did not result in an appointment and a further intensive search will recommence in the coming months,” said health board chairman Dyfed Edwards.

“This is a critically important job and it is vital that we appoint the right person to build the positive culture that will help guide the organisation into a brighter future.”

Carol Shillabeer, temporary CEO since May 2023, is on secondment from the Powys Teaching Health Board.

“I’m pleased Carol Shillabeer will continue as interim chief executive,” Mr. Edwards said.

“Carol has extensive experience in chief executive and clinical leadership roles in NHS Wales, and she is working hard with colleagues across the health board to ensure that we achieve a period of stability, while making progress in addressing some of our key challenges.”

Team dysfunction

“Given the health board’s reputation, it is not surprising that recruiting a new chief executive is proving to be a challenge,” said Conservative MS Darren Millar, whose Clwyd West seat is encompassed by Betsi Cadwaladr.

“Not only will anyone taking the leadership have a big challenge in turning around the performance of the NHS in north Wales, but they will also have to deal with a dysfunctional executive staff, most of whom should have been removed long ago.

“The best way to attract a new chief executive is to clear out the current executive team so that an incoming CEO can appoint a team with integrity and culture that people should rightly expect of senior managers working in our NHS,” he added.

The main Welsh NHS organization, the health board, will keep an interim chief executive while searching for a permanent one.

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