A HEALTH board has started to write to the families of patients who died after catching Covid-19 in hospitals during the pandemic. 

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) is sending letters patients, or the next of kin of patients who died, that caught Covid-19 in their hospitals. Almost 2,000 letters are being sent. 

The letters will tell families about the findings of their investigations into the care provided at that time. This is part of the process to investigate all such cases as part of the National Nosocomial Covid-19 Programme.

Carol Shillabeer, interim chief executive who will formally take on the role of chief executive early in the New Year, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our communities and healthcare services. While our staff worked tirelessly to protect services for those most in need, this was a new and unpredictable infection.

“Managing the spread of Covid-19 in healthcare settings was challenging, particularly when prevalence was so high in the community and in hospitals. There were higher levels of seriously unwell patients, longer lengths of stay and more people in hospital beds and as a result of the nature of the pandemic, unusually high numbers of people caught Covid-19 in our care.

“Sadly, we know people died, or were harmed, as a result of catching Covid-19 in hospital and we sincerely apologise for this and will learn and improve from the findings of our investigations.

“We have investigated nearly 1,987 cases where people caught Covid-19 in a healthcare setting and now we are writing to those people, their carers or next of kin to let them know the outcome.

“Our investigations in North Wales have shown us that the Health Board took reasonable precautions and followed all possible preventative measures, at that time, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by following Government and public health guidance. However, we know that people may still have questions about their experience or that or their family member and we will ensure they have the opportunity to ask them.

“The pandemic had an impact on many lives and as an open and responsive organisation we are making sure we learn all we can from the experiences and investigations. This learning is having a real impact on change and improvement in patient safety and standards of care, for example the opening of a specialist Respiratory Support Unit (RSU) at Glan Clwyd Hospital designed using the lessons of the pandemic.”


Letters to families of patients will provide information about the outcome of any investigation into potential or actual harm, as well as an apology and acknowledgement of what happened, what was known at the time and the next steps.

In 2023, letters were sent to 1,594 people to tell them a review would be conducted of all patients who may have caught Covid-19 in hospital.

People were invited to contact BCUHB through their Healthcare Associated Infection COVID-19 telephone service. This allowed the health board to identify and collate themes to help drive improvement in their services.