Saturday, February 11, 2012

Assembly Member calls for Ministerial inquiry into health watchdog

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on the Health Minister to carry out an investigation into the circumstances behind the suspension of the vice-chair of the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Community Health Council, following claims that the code of conduct was used to stop her criticising health board decisions.

Mr. Black was reacting to the resignation of two members of the CHC after they alleged that their views were being suppressed. Brendan Campbell and Jeff Jones say that decisions are being made by a select few, and that the code of conduct is being used to gag perceived troublemakers. In addition Mr Campbell claims that venues for meetings were not accessible to wheelchairs.

Mr. Jones is also angry about the suspension of Alison Morgan over comments that she had made at CHC meetings. This suspension has now been extended for a further three months because the Health Minister has not reached any conclusions on her case.

“I am very concerned at the way that the Community Health Council is being emasculated in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg area,” said Mr. Black, “with the code of conduct being used to silence those who are considered to be troublemakers. This body is meant to be a watchdog, so it is right that members of it are free to criticise and raise issues that concern them in the way they consider appropriate. It is not for others to use codes of conduct to shut them up when they are raising legitimate questions.

“I have raised this matter with the health minister on a number of occasions but there appears to be no progress in resolving it. I am sure that she will not be comfortable with the suppression of opinions on the CHC. It is now time that the Minister brought this matter to a head, with a formal investigation and swift conclusions.”

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