Following tonight's Assembly debate, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, welcomed the Welsh Government's response to the Francis Report on what she called the "appalling and systemic failings in Mid Staffordshire Hospital".
We seem to have reached an important turning point in Wales, with a greater focus now on the needs of patients, with a strong focus on dignity and respect, and the ways in which their experiences can be improved and less focus on systems and processes. I particularly welcome the Health Minister’s announcement that, starting immediately, an additional £10m of funding will be available each year to ensure the right staffing levels and range of experience among staff on hospital wards across Wales.
There is already much work underway to improve health services across Wales, but there is still a long way to go and it is vital that we see continued improvements at ward level in patient care and the patient experience.I have been clear that the needs of patients should be at the heart of the way that health services across Wales are delivered and that decisions made at board level must reflect what is happening on the ward. Board members must be more accountable for the decisions that they make and the impact that these have on the ways that patients are cared for.
Older people are very clear with me that they understand that things don’t always go right. However, when there are failings there must be accountability, things must be put right and lessons must be learned. When we are at our best in Wales we deliver some truly fantastic, transformational care that makes a huge and positive difference to people’s lives. By learning from things that go wrong, we will ensure that we continuously improve, that we are at our best more often, and deliver safe, effective, dignified and compassionate care to all older people, wherever they live in Wales.
– Older People’s Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira
The Commissioner added that the proof of whether or not lessons have been learned in Wales following the Francis Inquiry will be in the way that services are delivered in future. She said the ultimate test will be what she hears from patients, their families and their carers.
The Welsh Government says it will spend an extra £10 million recruiting more nurses as part of its response to the Francis report on patient neglect. The announcement was made in the Senedd this evening.
AMs were debating the action ministers need to take to make sure that there is no repetition in Wales of the events that led to the deaths of patients in mid-Staffordshire. The funding will be shared between the seven Welsh health boards.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg £1.8 million
Aneurin Bevan £1.9 million
Betsi Cadwaladr £2.2 million
Cardiff and Vale £1.4 million
Cwm Taf £1.1 million
Hywel Dda £1.3 million
Powys £0.4 million
TOTAL £10 million
Safe and compassionate care clearly can’t be produced simply by systems and measurements. It depends, fundamentally, on people. Staff are the greatest resource of the NHS and the staffing we need for the future has to match changing patterns of need. Our hospital in-patient population now consists predominantly of older people, often with a complex mixture of social and clinical conditions. The Chief Nursing Officer is leading work to introduce a new way of determining the number of nurses needed on any ward, to meet those needs.
Work so far has concentrated on acute medical and surgical wards. It shows that we need more nurses and healthcare support workers, in order to reach the staffing levels we will need in future.I recognise that meeting these new requirements of the post-Francis world comes at a cost. I am therefore very pleased to announce today that an additional £10 million will be provided in the current financial year, to allow Health Boards to accelerate their plans to secure acute medical and surgical ward nurses.
– Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM
The minister committed himself to providing the £10 million in future years as well. It is expected to pay for about 290 extra nurses. It will be additional money for the health boards but will have to be found from within the overall health budget, which will be re-examined.
I welcome this review, which is a step forward in recognising the devastating impact that Labour’s record-breaking NHS cuts are having on frontline NHS services. This review will give the Welsh Government an evidence-based assessment of the needs of the Welsh NHS ahead of the next Budget round, in which Labour has already pencilled in further cuts to the health budget. While we welcome £10million for specialist nurses, it is disappointing that this is not new money and simply being transferred from another part of the health budget.
The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader is warning that there's a danger of failings happening in hospitals here in Wales similar to those at Stafford Hospital unless there are immediate changes in the Welsh NHS.
Health minister Mark Drakeford will ask AMs later today to back the Welsh Government's response to the Francis report.
‘Delivering Safe Care, Compassionate Care’ follows the report by the Francis Inquiry, which made a number of recommendations for the NHS in England, after failures in standards of care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Day in, day out, the experience of the vast majority of people coming into contact with the NHS in Wales is of care which is dignified and respectful. I want to see a culture of conversation in the health service, where people feel able to voice concerns about care and know they are being heard. Of course, when things don’t happen as they should, we must listen, learn and take action.
Safe, compassionate care is the responsibility of everyone in the health service, from cleaner to Chief Executive. We know that NHS staff in Wales are highly motivated and committed, and we must ensure we have a health service which allows them to get on with their job of providing excellent care.The Francis Inquiry, although undertaken in response to failures outside Wales, offers us the opportunity to look at our health service with a critical eye and ensure we are in the best shape to deliver the safe, compassionate care patients deserve.
The Welsh NHS is committed to redrawing its ‘contract’ with its patients, according to the Welsh Government's response to the Francis report on patient neglect in mid-Staffordshire. It stresses that there are already procedures in place and that the system is different to the English NHS.
In Wales, all services in an area are the responsibility of a single health board and there are community health councils to represent patients' interests. Under the redrawn 'contract' everyone who uses the NHS in Wales can expect:
to be cared for safely and compassionately, with dignity and respect
to have timely access to services
to be fully involved and informed in decisions about their care
to have easy access to their personal health information, which is kept securely and confidentially at all times
to be told openly and honestly when things may have gone wrong and they have been harmed by their care
to have their say about their care and health services and about any concerns they may have
The Welsh Government response says this can be achieved by leaders at every level in the NHS putting patients and patient safety at the heart of all that they do.
We are fortunate to have a leadership workforce motivated to go above and beyond, to do their best for patients as well as their staff. We must foster a culture will enables those in clinical and non-clinical leadership roles to be able to make the positive contribution they desire.
Leaders need to live the values and behaviours that we expect to ensure a culture where all staff know it is normal to be caring and compassionate; to put patients and their families first; to be held to account personally and up to date in all that we each do; to make it easier for patients to have integrated care; to be open and honest with colleagues; to recognise that staff make mistakes and help them to do it right.
And it is not normal to harm people, to ignore concerns or hide things when things go wrong; to assume ‘I know best'. This is our norm.
– ‘Delivering Safe Care, Compassionate Care’, Welsh Government response to the Francis report