The former boss of a scandal-hit health board has been given a £131,000 payout following her resignation.
Allison Williams, who had been on an extended period of sickness absence, stepped down from her role as chief executive of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board on August 20, 2019.
She faced mounting calls to resign after “systematic failures” were uncovered in maternity units at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrsiant, and Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil.
In the health board’s latest accountability report, it was revealed that Ms Williams, who had been in charge of the health board since 2011, had been given a bumper exit package.
It states: “In line with the agreement for her departure, her final salary received included a payment of £8,190 for accrued but untaken annual leave, an ex-gratia payment for the termination of employment of £75,119, a payment of £45,071 in respect of the contractual entitlement to payment in lieu of notice and a contribution towards her legal fees of £3,600.
“The terms of the exit package were agreed by the Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee, and where necessary approved by the Welsh Government.”
An investigation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives unearthed a series of wide-ranging concerns about the two maternity units.
It was prompted by a consultant midwife who was concerned by an apparent under-reporting of serious incidents, including deaths of babies.
A total of 43 pregnancies were investigated by the two colleges between January 2016 and September 2018 to see if there was any “avoidable harm” – 21 of them were stillbirths, five were neonatal deaths and and 17 were complications in labour.
However, only 13 were recorded as they should have been.
The investigation found maternity services to be “dysfunctional”, with many women reporting “distressing experiences and poor care”.
It also described the units as severely understaffed, where the most serious incidents went unreported because of fear of a “punitive culture of blame”.
In the wake of the findings, maternity services were placed in special measures by the Welsh Government and an oversight panel – chaired by former chief constable Mick Giannasi – was set up to monitor their progress.
The panel’s latest review, published in April this year, found that maternity services were now “firmly on track” to deliver the improvements needed to ensure safe and high-quality care.
However, this has not stopped the six-figure payout given to Ms Williams by the health board from being widely criticised.
Plaid Cymru health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: ” Plaid Cymru welcomed the resignation of Allison Williams after the scandal emerged at two Cwm Taf health board maternity units.
“To learn now that she received such a high sum of money as part of her exit package is an insult to the parents who suffered loss at the hands of the health board she fronted.
“Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board needs to explain why they think it appropriate to provide such a financial reward to their former CEO.
“We must see more accountability from health board mangers and Welsh Government over decisions such as this.”
Sharon Hopkins, who worked as deputy chief executive at Cardiff and Vale UHB, has been the interim chief executive at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB since June 2019.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said it was unable to comment further on the information contained within the remuneration report.