Changes to hospital services and cuts to public spending are amongst the subjects looked at in this week's Sharp End
A mother tells the tragic tale of her little boy who died with a metabolic disease which was not identified until after his death.
Stillbirth is the most common form of child mortality in Wales, with around four babies dying every week.
The Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is standing down after a report found failings which put patient's safety at risk.
– Prof Merfyn Jones, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chairman
Under the circumstances, I believe it is appropriate that I stand down as Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and I have informed the Minister of my intention to do so as soon as appropriate alternative arrangements are in place.
There are many fundamental challenges for the Board but I am confident that these will be responded to positively to deliver the necessary improvements and I shall continue to contribute fully during this transitional period.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will today formally receive a report by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office following their joint review of our governance arrangements. The report identified significant failings and major challenges for the Board which we recognise and accept.
– Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board statement
Although steps have already been taken to tackle some of the issues, the Health Board is determined to respond to these matters in full and will ensure that the report’s recommendations are addressed as a priority.
Our progress will be subject to ongoing review and scrutiny by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Wales Audit Office and Welsh Government.
– Chief Executive of HIW, Kate Chamberlain
"The Health Board's current governance arrangements and procedures do not adequately address the gap between the ward and the Board. We have concerns that the Board's governance arrangements and organisational structure are compromising its ability to properly identify issues concerning the quality and safety of patient care."
– Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas
"The effectiveness of the Board has been significantly compromised by a breakdown in working relationships between some senior leaders in the organisation. There has been a lack of cohesion in the way executive directors work together and the report raises further concerns about the stability and capacity of the executive team as a result of staff turnover and sickness absence.
"Encouragingly, the Board recognises the scale of the challenges ahead and that strong leadership from the Chair and clinical leaders will be vital. The pace at which problems are tackled must accelerate."
Key points raised in the report include:
- Routine governance arrangements within the Health Board have not paid sufficient attention to infection control
- Effectiveness of the Board has been significantly compromised by a breakdown in working relationships between some senior leaders in the organisation
- There has been a lack of cohesion in the way executive directors work together
- The report raises further concerns about the stability and capacity of the executive team as a result of staff turnover and sickness absence.
“This report raises significant concerns about the management of Betsi Cadwaladr University Board particularly at a time when the entire health sector in Wales is undergoing seismic changes in both its funding and structure.
“That the apparent breakdown in working relationships between some of the Board’s senior leaders has compromised its ability to properly identify issues concerning the quality and safety of patient care is disturbing.
– Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee,
“I thank both the Wales Audit Office and Health Inspectorate Wales for bringing this matter to the fore.
“The Public Accounts Committee has agreed to take urgent evidence on this issue at its meeting on 18 July.”
A joint report by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and the Wales Audit Office (WAO) has revealed failings in the way Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is run. The report looks at the corporate, clinical and financial challenges facing the health board.
Some of the issues arising from the report include lack of clarity around accountability arrangements and deepening concerns over how services are delivered.
Labour MP Ann Clwyd says she'll raise complaints sent to her from patients in Welsh hospitals during today's Welsh Grand committee debate. The Cynon Valley MP has been appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate the way patients' concerns are dealt with by hospitals in England.
But she's previously said that many hundreds of the letters and emails she's received are from those who've had difficult experiences in hospitals here in Wales.
Accepting an invitation from his GP for abdominal scan when he turned 65 years old proved to be a life-saving decision for Gordon Lewis.
The retired coal miner from Abercwmboi was found to have a large abdominal aortic aneurysm and within a week of having the scan was undergoing surgery.
The married father of three said, “I didn’t realise that I had anything wrong with me as I had no symptoms and had been feeling fine so when they told me they had found an AAA it was a real shock."
Mr Lewis, who has two grandchildren, made a good recovery from the operation and within six weeks was completely back to normal.
He knows how lucky he was and is determined to encourage other men to take up the offer to the scan.
All men over 65 in Wales will be offered a free test to check for a life-threatening condition called abdominal aortic aneurysm. It's six times more common in men than women and ruptured aneurysms led to 246 deaths in Wales in 2010.
The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. Sometimes, as people grow older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and stretch to form an aneurysm. When this happens there is a risk that the aorta may split or tear.
– Lylwela Wilson, Head of the Wales AAA Screening Programme
There are no signs and symptoms of having an AAA so most men with one will know nothing about it until it ruptures, and their chances of surviving will sadly be very poor.
The screening programme aims to reduce this risk by providing men with a simple, painless ultrasound scan that will detect whether an AAA is present.
The screening takes only a few minutes but it really could help save your life.
Letters will start being sent out from 1st May 2013 to all eligible men.