The new man in charge of Wales' largest health board has given managers 100 days to start making improvements.
Simon Dean was appointed to lead Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board earlier this month, after the health provider was put in special measures and Trevor Purt, the board's chief executive, was suspended.
At a briefing this morning, Mr Dean said he's asked for a 100-day plan from managers for service improvements, each setting a milestone by which progress can be judged and show that 'rapid progress' is being made.
Mr Dean said key words for the future of the embattled health board are 'clarity, focus, pace and urgency.' He has met with relatives of those treated on the Tawel Fan ward, and said: "We will hold people to account where accountability is required."
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A new drug has been approved for use on the Welsh NHS, providing hope to thousands of people in Wales with Hepatitis C.
Around 12,000 people in Wales are living with the virus - though the true figure could be much higher.
It's transmitted through blood and can cause serious liver damage or liver cancer if left untreated.
Emily Gadd reports:
GP services in Wales are getting an extra £34m as part of a plan to shift more services from hospitals to community services.Read the full story ›
Spot checks on mental health wards for older people have revealed room for improvement says the Welsh Government.
The government has revealed the findings of the 22 unannounced spot checks on 51 older people’s mental health wards carried out by an independent team of professionals to review care and conditions.
The key recommendations emerging from the checkers include:
- Ensuring older people have access to daily activities on wards;
- Staff need to feel they can raise concerns easily; have effective training and understand the necessary legal safeguards;
- The need for improvements to ward environments, in particular ensuring simple maintenance tasks and repairs are undertaken promptly;
- Flexible visiting hours should be encouraged on wards.
The report said in the main were doing their best to provide good quality care in the face of a number of challenges and "where the team of reviewers discovered and highlighted immediate concerns, these were raised with the health board immediately to take urgent action."
The teams identified variation in practice within and between individual wards in health board areas. However it said it did not find a repeat of the serious failings, which have been identified in an independent report about Tawel Fan ward, in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, north Wales.
These spot checks have provided us with assurance that poor care and neglect are not systemic features of the care of elderly mental health patients in Wales.
However, the report does acknowledge there is room for further improvement.
I expect health boards to continue to develop and improve services for older people with mental health problems both in hospitals and in the community.
A new programme to encourage people to get outdoors and be more active could see doctors prescribing exercise.
Two new programmes are launching at the Senedd today.
'Go Green 4 Health' is Lottery Funded and is testing 'prescriptions' of outdoor physical activity to people to prevent ill health and manage chronic conditions.
Whilst the second programme is designed to increase children's access to quality outdoor play experiences.
The great natural environment that we have in Wales provides an excellent opportunity for people to significantly improve their health and Well-Being at little or no cost and our new programmes will support thousands of children and adults across Wales to do this.
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The Welsh Local Government Association has said that today's proposals to shake up local councils offers no further assurances for council tax payers in Wales. It warns that bills could rise dramatically without a clear approach to how council tax will be adjusted when there's a merger between councils that have been setting different rates.
The WLGA says there's no consensus between the councils and the Welsh government about today's proposals. It says they add to the maps and options set out in the Williams report last year but do not provide additional clarity or certainty. The councils say that with no political agreement, reorganisation will take at least five years and warn that disruption, distraction and uncertainty will continue.
We call on the Welsh Government today to work closely with the WLGA and hold an urgent summit of the 22 council leaders and senior ministers, to discuss the future of local government in Wales. This summit could debate the way forward in terms of structures, but more importantly set in place a new vision for local government which is currently at the epicentre of public sector funding cuts and is having to carry a disproportionate share of the huge austerity burden.
The sustainability of authorities in Wales is in question over the next three years and it is time to examine all options for reforming public services across the board. This means looking at greater integration of health and social care, freeing up authorities from Government bureaucracy and regulation and also empowering local communities through their councils.
Wales had 13 counties that hardly changed for centuries. then politicians got into the habit of shaking up councils every 20 years or so.Read the full story ›