Charity's patient safety warning

Patient safety charity, Action Against Medical Accidents, says there is an urgent need to 'review and reform' the way patient safety in regulated in Wales. An investigation found there are 60 patient safety alerts outstanding, some years overdue.

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Calls for health boards to take more action over safety alerts

Patients in Wales are being put at unnecessary risk, because health boards aren't taking action to deal with safety alerts. That's according to Freedom of Information requests from the charity Action Against Medical Accidents.

None of Wales' health boards have hit all of their deadlines to comply with so-called patient safety alerts - which are issued when things have gone wrong in the NHS, such as mistakes with high-risk medicines or giving the wrong type of blood. Tom Sheldrick reports.

Lessons to be learned from report says Healthcare Inspectorate

Mandy Collins, deputy chief executive of Health Inspectorate Wales, says she is meeting with Action Against Medical Accidents chief executive Peter Walsh to discuss what more can be done to address issues raised in the report.

She told ITV News there is always room for improvement and Health Inspectorate Wales wants to learn from the report.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We welcome scrutiny of patient safety - this is a matter we take very seriously. While it is encouraging that NHS organisations have made major improvements to compliance on patient safety alerts, more still needs to be done to achieve full compliance.

"We continue to monitor this data across health boards and have set up a group to look at particular areas of concern. We have made it clear we expect all organisations to make further improvements in the interests of patient safety and quality of services."

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'Urgent need' for safety alert review

Action Against Medical Accidents says there has been 'welcome improvement' in compliance, but it is 'deeply disappointed by the lack of priority accorded to this vital element of patient safety.'

Whilst there has been a significant and welcome improvement in compliance with patient safety alerts across the boards since we started publishing reports on this issue, it is very concerning that Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr health boards still have so many alerts outstanding, some of which are years past the deadline for completion and that not a single health board is fully compliant.

According to Standards for Health Services in Wales there should be 100% compliance. Patients are being left at unnecessary risk. It is possible that some patients may have suffered harm or even died needlessly as a result of alerts not being complied with.

– Action Against Medical Accidents

The charity says there is 'urgent need' to review and reform the way patient safety is regulated in Wales.

Health boards failing to meet safety alert deadlines

Action Against Medical Accidents found that there were 61 instances of an alert not being complied with this year, compared to 140 in 2012.

The report also found:

  • There were 15 patients safety alerts not complied with over five years past the deadline
  • Powys Teaching Health Board had the best rate of compliance, with two alerts outstanding compared with 15 in 2012
  • Hywel Dda Health Board had the worst rate with 23 alerts outstanding and Betsi Cadwaladr had 15.

The charity also criticises Health Inspectorate Wales, the body that is responsible for monitoring and regulating the NHS in Wales with regards to safety, saying that no record could be found of them having taken up the issue of non-compliance with any health board.

Patients being put at unnecessary risk, says charity

None of Wales' seven health boards have met deadlines to comply with patient safety alerts Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA

Patients in Wales are being put at unnecessary risk, according to charity Action Against Medical Accidents. It says health boards aren't taking enough action to deal with safety alerts.

None of Wales' health boards have hit all of their deadlines to comply with so-called patient safety alerts - which are issued when things have gone wrong on the NHS, such as mistakes with high-risk medicines or giving the wrong type of blood.

The charity says that while there has been "significant improved in compliance generally" more needs to be done.

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