Calls for Welsh NHS inquiry

There is growing pressure for a major inquiry into the standards of Welsh NHS care. But the Welsh Government says there is 'a clear process for raising concerns without resorting to lengthy and expensive public inquiries at every opportunity.'

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Conservatives: Major inquiry needed into Welsh NHS

The Welsh Conservatives have reiterated their call for a major inquiry into the state of the NHS in Wales, similar to a high-profile one carried out in England.

Fourteen NHS trusts in England were investigated in an inquiry carried out by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, England's NHS medical director, and a report published earlier this month.

It was set up following the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital scandal, where hundreds of patients died due to poor care.

This is now a hat-trick of catastrophic failings in three of Wales’ largest health boards.

How many more patients have to ‘die regularly’ before Labour’s Carwyn Jones acts and introduces a Keogh-style inquiry?

Substandard care in just one area should be enough to force consideration of this. The full scale of disturbing facts now published is proof that action is desperately needed.

The terrible findings of surgeons looking at Wales’ largest hospital are beyond worrying and similarities to the recent Mid Staffordshire scandal are distressing.

– Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives

S Wales 'alone in UK with patients dying waiting for cardiac surgery'

The report from the Royal College of Surgeons says that South Wales is the only part of the UK where patients are dying on cardiac surgery waiting lists.

The RCS spoke to a number of clinical leads, who expressed the following concerns, quoted from the report:

  • We heard that patients are regularly dying on the waiting list from their cardiac pathology
  • Some services are almost completely failed and some effectively suspended, such as paediatric tonsillectomy
  • Children are now regularly being fitted with hearing aids because there is no ability to treat their otitis media with surgical grommet insertion
  • Under normal circumstances the provision for urgent and emergency surgery is inadequate
  • It was recorded that a patient recently died in the A&E corridor from a ruptured aortic aneurysm
  • A direct question was asked to the UHW clinicians as to whether they believed that the services at UHW were dangerous - the universal consensus was that that this was the case


Health board: We know we can do better

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board says it has developed "a detailed action plan to make sure that we are addressing all areas" of concern, and the Royal College of Surgeons will visit again in September to see if there has been improvement.

The health board is looking at all options to increase cardiac surgery capacity, and looking at proposals to get patients treated more quickly.

Chief Executive Alun Cairns said the health board is working with surgeons "on a range of actions", and looking at what extra capacity could be provided, and improving how it manages emergency, care.

We know that we can do better and we have given priority to the issues raised in the RCS report.One of the main areas of concern has been the pressure on unscheduled care, seen here in Cardiff and the Vale, Wales and across the UK, and the impact that has on other services.

A great deal of engaging with clinical teams and partners such as the third sector and Local Authorities has been done over these issues and a number of pieces of work, directed and driven by clinical staff, are now starting to take effect.

– Adam Cairns, Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Wales' biggest hospital branded 'dangerous'

There were 'a wide range of concerns' raised about the University Hospital of Wales.

Wales' biggest hospital has been described as "dangerous", in a highly critical report from the Royal College of Surgeons.

It found that "patients are regularly dying on the waiting list from their cardiac pathology" and there was "universal consensus" among clinicians at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff that services there were "dangerous."

It warns "the current situation represents a severe risk to patients and urgent action is required."

"A wide range of concerns were raised" by clinical leads at the hospital during a routine visit by the RCS in April - the most prevalent was "the inability to admit patients for elective surgery." There were more than 2,000 operations either cancelled or not scheduled between January and March 2013.

"The main reason for this is the apparent unconstrained admission of emergency patients and the inability to effectively discharge patients", the report said.

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