An NHS watchdog is to assess the findings of a health board's internal review after a suspended employee went on to commit murder.
Three separate allegations of patient sexual assault had been made against hospital worker Kris Wade, who was employed by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.
All three allegations, made by users of the learning disability service, were referred by the health board to the police, though in each case no prosecution was brought.
But in March 2016, while Wade was suspended from work amid disciplinary proceedings, he murdered his 65-year-old neighbour, Christine James, in a sexually-motivated attack.
The health board later carried out an internal review into Wade's employment with them and how the sex assault allegations against him had been managed.
It also looked into whether there had been any conflicts of interest, as Wade's father was director of the learning disability service at the time.
The review concluded that Wade's future conduct and behaviour outside of his employment could not have been predicted or prevented.
But failings were identified around the handling of the sex abuse allegations, along with how robust the safety checks were before Wade was employed by the health board.
The findings prompted calls by the British Medical Association in Wales, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives for a public inquiry.
No such inquiry has been ordered to date. However, health secretary Vaughan Gething has asked Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) to independently assess the health board's review of itself - which opposition parties say is a step forward.
Mr Gething has asked the HIW to determine:
- if all appropriate learning has been identified from the findings reached in ABMU's review
- if the actions being taken are sufficiently wide-ranging and robust
- if there are effective arrangements in place for ongoing monitoring of the actions taken, ensuring they are embedded in practice across the organisation
- if there is any further learning that should be shared across the NHS in Wales
The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed news of an independent assessment, saying: “It’s clear it should never have been left to the health board to investigate serious concerns about itself, especially given the magnitude of the failings of this case, which led to severe breaches of patient safety."
But Plaid Cymru said the health secretary's call for an assessment 'does not go far enough'.