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Cwm Taf health board escalation status raised amid concerns over maternity services and governance

Credit: PA

Cwm Taf health board has had its escalation status raised by Welsh Government.

The move comes following concerns around maternity services, the reporting of serious incidents and a review into maternity cases involving the death and serious injury of babies.

Concerns have also been raised about the governance of the health board.

In a statement, the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething AM said: " Following the recent actions in respect of Cwm Taf University Health Board maternity services, a tripartite meeting [between Welsh Government, Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales] took place in December 2018 to consider wider service issues.

"Whilst acknowledging the health board has a good track record in terms of financial management... it was agreed the health board should have its escalation status raised from ‘routine arrangements’ to ‘enhanced monitoring’ to recognise a number of areas of concern relating to quality governance arrangements."

Areas of concern that have been raised include:

  • Concerns about maternity services which have led to my recent statement and a joint review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwifery which will report in spring 2019
  • Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IR(ME)R) compliance, with the health board being non-compliant with the Health and Safety at Work Act requirements following a recent HIW inspection
  • The need to ensure actions are in place to respond to a recent Human Tissue Authority inspection report
  • Concerns in respect of quality governance arrangements
  • The quality of serious incident reporting requiring an external review of process to be commissioned to improve the local mechanisms
  • Concerns have been raised around the health board’s response to actions contained within HIW inspection reports, finding that some actions have not been completed on follow-up visits
  • Compliance with the Nurse Staffing Act and awaiting formal confirmation of compliance from the Board

The health minister added: "I will be expecting immediate action to be taken on the areas of concern and for improvements to be evident within the next few months."

What's the escalation level of your health board?

Cwm Taf health board says it 'welcomes the opportunity of additional support from Welsh Government.'

Our priority is always to provide the highest quality of care to all our patients and we are disappointed that recent challenges have resulted in the need for improvements in the areas identified.

We are determined to deliver the required improvements and fully accept that enhanced monitoring is required for a short amount of time to provide assurance on the actions being taken. We have already made significant progress in addressing many of the issues that have been highlighted and we will continue to work closely with Welsh Government, our Board and our partners to provide all the necessary assurance that our services are of the highest quality. As a health board we have prided ourselves on being in routine measures – the lowest level of escalation – since the performance scale was introduced in 2014 and welcome the opportunity of additional support from Welsh Government in the coming months to enable us to return to routine measures as soon as possible.

– Allison Williams, Chief Executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board