The views of patients and staff are top priority for 2016, the woman in charge of improving grassroots health care in Conwy and Denbighshire has pledged.
Bethan Jones is Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Central Area Director, overseeing the healthcare needs of more than 200,000 people.
She is one of three area directors brought in by BCUHB as part of its new structure, with the aim to reconnect with the communities it serves across the region.
Mrs Jones was previously Anglesey County Council’s Deputy Chief Executive, leading on the transformation and improvement following intervention by the Welsh Government. She has almost 30 years of experience working in the NHS and local government.
She now oversees community hospitals in Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Ruthin, Denbigh, Holywell and the Royal Alexandra in Rhyl. She is also responsible for community health services, child and adolescent mental health, children’s and GP and other primary care services.
Mrs Jones said: “I see my role as the perfect opportunity to bring together the experience I have of working both in the NHS and local government.
“My aim is to get back to having a more local perspective for the BCUHB, to build partnerships at a local level, to listen to feedback and to develop a better understanding of the communities we serve.
“We need to understand the way people feel about things and have a conversation about how we deliver services. There has to be a better consumer focus with the aim of understanding what matters to the individuals that we care for and their families.
“I am a resident of North Wales and of Conwy county and it is therefore as important to me as it is to everyone else that we provide excellent care and services that meet the needs of local people.”
She added: “A major priority for me is developing effective communications with the people who work in our local health service.
“After all, we are the largest employer in North Wales and it is therefore extremely important for them to feel they are working for a good organisation and can influence how it operates.
“We have excellent staff and on the whole provide good care and services. However, we acknowledge that we need to rebuild confidence and relations with our communities, there are no easy solutions and it will all take a little time to achieve,” said Mrs Jones, who is married with a son, a daughter and a baby grand-daughter.
Originally from the Llanfairfechan area, where she still lives, she went to school in Bangor before going on to Loughborough University from where she graduated with a BSc in Management Sciences and was appointed as an NHS management trainee.
Early in her health service career she worked in Cardiff and Manchester before returning to the NHS in North Wales at the end of 1991.
In 2001 she became Director of Social Services and Housing for Conwy County Borough Council, and four years later took an expanded role as the council’s Corporate Director for Improvement and Development with a brief that included the Colwyn Bay Regeneration Programme.
She was appointed as Conwy’s Deputy Chief Executive in 2007 and then moved to Denbighshire County Council as a Corporate Director overseeing regeneration and business transformation.
In 2012 she was appointed to Anglesey County Council as Deputy Chief Executive to lead on the transformation and improvement of the council as a consequence of the intervention by the Welsh Government.
BCUHB Interim Chief Executive Simon Dean, who is also Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Wales, said: “Our long-term engagement strategy is centred on building and strengthening relationships with partners, communities and individuals so that we become a more visible, listening organisation.
“Our recently established area teams in the east, central and west are key in helping us to deliver this.
“It is essential that we listen to what is said by the public and our staff, and act on that information so the health service reflects the needs of those who live and work in North Wales. We have already begun to do this, and we will be continuing it into 2016 and further ahead.”
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is the largest health organisation in Wales, employing around 16,100 staff. It provides a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for a population of around 676,000 people across North Wales as well as some parts of mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.
It runs Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan and Wrexham Maelor Hospital as well as 18 other acute and community hospitals and a network of over 90 health centres, clinics, community health team bases and mental health units. The Health Board also coordinates the work of 115 GP practices and NHS services provided by North Wales dentists, opticians and pharmacies.
BCUHB’s new chief executive is Gary Doherty, currently Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and previously Deputy Chief Executive of Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.