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Minimum unit price on alcohol would 'save £900m'

A report commissioned by the Welsh Government says introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol would reduce alcohol consumption, related deaths, hospital admissions and crime - and could be worth nearly £900m to the economy over a 20 year period.

The Welsh Government say introducing a 50p minimum price unit on alcohol would have multiple benefits. Credit: PA.

Ministers commissioned experts at Sheffield University to look at the impact of a minimum unit price for alcohol if introduced in Wales - the Public Health White Paper contained such a proposal.

The study concludes that introducing a minimum unit price of 50p would be worth £882m to the Welsh economy in terms of reductions in illness, crime and sickness absence over 20 years.

The key findings from the report:

  • Across the whole population, 38.4% of units purchased would be affected.
  • Across the whole population, mean weekly consumption is estimated to fall by 4%.
  • Across the whole population, estimated spending increases by 1.6% or £10 per drinker per year or 19p per week.
  • Effects on health are estimated to be substantial, with alcohol-attributable deaths estimated to reduce by approximately 53 per year after 20 years, by which time the full effects of the policy will be seen.
  • Crime is estimated to fall by 3,700 offences a year overall. A similar reduction is seen across the three categories of crime - violent crimes, criminal damage and robbery, burglary and theft.
  • Workplace absence is estimated to be reduced by 10,000 days per year.

"This latest Wales-specific research from Sheffield University is further evidence that introducing a minimum price for alcohol of 50p a unit will have significant benefits on the health of the nation, reducing alcohol misuse and drink-related harm. It would mean fewer alcohol-related deaths and ease the burden of alcohol-related harm on the Welsh NHS. This work builds on the advice of the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse, which was published in July. It is no coincidence that as alcohol has become relatively cheaper, alcohol-related deaths and disease have increased. We will consider these findings and continue to develop our proposals with a view to introducing legislation."

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health and Social Services Minister
  1. Alexandra Lodge

Mum: home birth would've meant 'emergency cesarean'

New guidelines say home births are the "best option" for women with low-risk pregnancies. Credit: ITV Wales News

A mum who planned a home birth says if she hadn't had an extra scan an emergency cesarean would have been necessary.

Health watchdog NICE released guidelines saying some women are better off giving birth out of hospital. However, leading Welsh childbirth expert Dr Bryan Beattie says women should be cautious.

Alexandra Lodge reports:

The Cardiff doctor says all mums who are considering a non-hospital birth should have a 36 week scan to make sure their baby is low risk and ready for a normal birth.

As the NHS don't offer this, he says pregnant women can't make an informed decision about the place of birth.

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Kidney transplant tragedy 'will live with' surgeon

Surgeon Argiris Asderakis was responsible for accepting the kidneys. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Argiris Asderakis, the consultant transplant surgeon who was responsible for the kidney operations, has apologised for what happened.

I am very sorry that two people have lost their lives and the pain and sadness that the families continue to cope with.

I take pride in my many years working in transplantation and the people and families whose lives have been helped by the Cardiff Transplant Unit.

Their words have been a great support and I am very grateful to them. Kidney transplantation is performed to prolong the lives of patients who suffer from renal failure. Although nobody could have anticipated this tragedy it will live with me and I am deeply sorry for what happened.

– Argiris Asderakis, Consultant Surgeon at Cardiff Transplant Unit

Robert Stuart's family 'left completely devastated'

Robert Stuart, 67, from Cardiff died after receiving a kidney transplant at the University Hospital of South Wales. Credit: Family/Irwin Mitchell

The widow of Robert Stuart, who died after receiving a kidney transplant infected with parasitic worms, has spoken of his family's grief and urged patients waiting for organs to ask for more information.

Our family has been left completely devastated by Jim’s death and we are still struggling to come to terms with what has happened especially as we were hoping that the kidney transplant was going to give him a new lease of life.

We want to highlight that every patient who is waiting for organs on the transplant list that they have the right to turn down an organ if they are concerned about the risks. We also feel it is important to say that every patient and family have the right to question the surgeon’s opinion and ask for more information – we feel that we weren’t given the opportunity to make an informed decision as we were not given any information. If we had been given a chance to consider the options about the surgery the outcome would have been entirely different.

– Judith Stuart, Robert's widow

Darren Hughes' family: 'No words can describe our loss'

The father of transplant patient Darren Hughes, who died after being given kidneys infected with parasitic worms, says "no words can describe" the family's loss.

Darren Hughes, 42, from Bridgend, was one of two transplant patients who died after being given kidneys infected with parasitic worms. Credit: Family / Irwin Mitchell

The purpose of an organ transplant is to save or prolong someone’s life and Darren’s life was tragically cut short and we are determined to find out how this could have happened. It was difficult enough for us to come to terms with what happened to him but to also hear that another family had also been affected was heart-breaking.

We just hope that things are improved further after this inquest as its been incredibly difficult listening to all the evidence. I would hate for anyone else to have to go through this experience.

– Ian Hughes, Darren's father

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Kidney inquest lawyer: 'This isn't the end' for families

The lawyer representing the families of two transplant patients who died after being given kidneys infected with parasitic worms says today's narrative verdict "isn't the end of matters".

Coroner Christopher Woolley today ruled that doctors were not to blame for the deaths of Robert Stuart, 67, from Cardiff, and Darren Hughes, 42, from Bridgend.

Following the conclusion of the inquest, solicitor Julie Lewis told journalists that she had been instructed by the families to explore potential civil negligence claims.

Ms Lewis added: "The families particularly are disappointed at the fact that he found in the doctor's favour in relation to the consent issue, bearing in mind that we thought we'd given very clear evidence of what happened on the day... understandably ,the families feel like they weren't believed when they were giving their very truthful accounts of what happened on the day."

But she expressed gratitude to the coroner for a "thorough" inquiry and said both families were keen that people should not be put off transplantation, with theirs being an "incredibly rare" experience.

She also called for patients to be more involved in decision-making about their medical treatment.

  1. National

'Unintended consequences of medical treatment' led to death

Darren Hughes.

The Coroner has ruled that Darren Hughes died as a result of his necessary medical treatment.

Darren Hughes died from Meningoencephalitis on the 19th December 2013, after undergoing a kidney transplant on the 30th November 2013. The source of the infection was the transplanted kidney and the agent of infection was the Halicephalobus nematode present in this kidney.

The kidney had been rejected by several transplant centres before it was accepted for Mr Hughes, either because of its poor function or because of the donor's cause of death. It was not rejected because of the Halicephalobus nematode, or accepted in spite of it, as this organism is almost unknown to medical science and there was no test for it in the circumstances of this transplant. Darren Hughes died from the unintended consequences of necessary medical intervention.

– Coroner
  1. National

Robert Stuart died from consequences of medical treatment

Robert Stuart with his wife.

The Coroner has ruled that Robert Stuart died as a result of his necessary medical treatment.

Robert James Stuart died from Meningoencephalitis on the 17th December 2013, after undergoing a kidney transplant on the 30th November 2013. The source of the infection was the transplanted kidney and the agent of infection was the Halicephalobus nematode present in this kidney.

The kidney had been rejected by several transplant centres before it was accepted for Mr Stuart, either because of its poor function or because of the donor's cause of death. It was not rejected because of the Halicephalobus nematode, or accepted in spite of it, as this organism is almost unknown to medical science and there was no test for it in the circumstances of this transplant. Robert James Stuart died from the unintended consequences of necessary medical intervention.

– Coroner
  1. Hannah Thomas

Coroner rules decision to use infected kidneys was 'correct'

Darren Hughes (left), Robert Stuart (right) died after receiving kidney transplants at the University Hospital of South Wales Credit: Family photo

The coroner has reached a narrative verdict in the inquest of two men who died after receiving kidney transplants.

He says that both Robert Stuart and Darren Hughes died from the unintended consequences of necessary medical intervention.

He also said there were no gross failures of neglect in the decision to go ahead with the transplant.

Robert Stuart, 67, from Cardiff and Darren Hughes, 42, of Bridgend both died from a parasite known as halicephalobus, which lives in soil and is often found in horses.

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