Powys Health Board Chief To Quit

The controversial chief executive of Powys Local Health Board (LHB) is stepping down, it has emerged. Andy Williams has been under pressure since announcing plans to make cuts at four Powys hospitals.

The LHB’s chairman Chris Mann thanked Mr Williams for his “commitment”, and said he would leave his post at the end of June after four years.

The decision was welcomed by opponents of proposed cuts at the four hospitals, who said he had been under pressure.

Mr Williams announced plans to reduce services at Llanidloes, Knighton, Bronllys and Builth Wells hospitals in September last year.

Action groups were formed soon afterwards and have held a series of protests and public meetings.

But the LHB said it was facing a £3.5m deficit, and that hospital buildings were outdated and patients deserved better.

Meanwhile, in March the Welsh Assembly Government launched an inquiry into the way the LHB is managed, after a meeting between GPs and the then Health Minister Brian Gibbons.

In a statement, Powys LHB chair Chris Mann thanked Mr Williams but offered no reason for his departure.

“The board wishes to thank Andy for his commitment to developing health services for the people of Powys and wishes him every success in his future career,” he said.

Builth Wells GP Dr Richard Walters said Mr Williams had made the right decision.

“It is unprecedented for a LHB chief to come under such sustained criticism from local communities,” said Dr Walters. “In this respect it seems right he has resigned.

“I hope it is a decision he has made for himself in the belief that this was in the best interest of future healthcare planning in Powys.”

But John Wilden, chairman of the Save Llanidloes Hospital Action Group, said he was “saddened” by the news, but Mr Williams had been “under pressure for some months”.

Jonathan Morgan, chairman of Builth Against Community Hospital Closures (Bach), said the assembly election result – when Labour lost seats and has had to form a minority government – had forced officials to think again.

Two weeks ago the Welsh Assembly Government announced a moratorium putting hospital restructuring on hold.