Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board no suspensions?
NHS staff suspensions: Five-year ban and 37,000 days lostThe Welsh Conservatives have expressed fears for healthcare workers, patients, and the taxpayer as hundreds of NHS staff miss tens of thousands of working days due to suspensions.A Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives revealed that at least 236 staff have been suspended in NHS Wales over the last four years. Between 2018 and 2021, over 37,000 days have been missed by health service workers as a result of their suspension.Gwent’s health board Aneurin Bevan Health Board (ABHB) 10,072 missed days due to staff suspensions, the highest of all those that provided the information. It even revealed one suspension lasted 764 days.Cardiff & Vale Health Board, which only saw 14 suspensions across four years, disclosed that one person had been suspended for five years and another for two.2020 saw the most days lost to suspensions, 11,078, despite the NHS coming under enormous pressure due to the pandemic.The figure is likely to be much higher as North Wales’ beleaguered Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCHB), which saw the highest number of suspensions during this period (65) refused to disclose how many days had been lost.The Board stated this was down to the amount of time it would take to process the information, as the FoI Act state bodies do not have to provide information if it takes too long to collect. This is likely down to its high number of suspensions.An FOI by the Welsh Conservatives in 2018 revealed the health board had lost 42,292 work days due to staff suspensions in the previous three years.Swansea Bay Health Board (SBHB) recorded the second highest number (9,160), despite not including 2018 figures (the area the board covered was reconstituted in 2019, creating SBHB). Although Powys Health Board saw fewer than five suspensions each year, 1,818 days were still lost. Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:
“These numbers are really troubling for several reasons and reveal a serious problem in our health service. First, for those innocent NHS workers who are suspended for weeks, even months on end waiting for justice, until they can return to work.“And then there are patients and taxpayers who fork out thousands for suspensions at a time when staff shortages continue to plague the NHS, especially in North Wales where, as expected, things have not improved since we last asked for this information four years ago.“The Labour Government need to get a grip of the NHS and ensure that suspensions are driven down in number and duration for the good of healthcare workers, patients, and taxpayers.”