'Horrified' Eluned Morgan apologises to gran that 'spent six days on a chair' at Heath hospital A&E

  • Report by ITV Wales News Health Reporter Katie Fenton

Wales' Health Minister has apologised to a grandmother saying her treatment at Wales' busiest A&E department was "unacceptable".

Val Griffiths from Cardiff said she spent six days sat in a chair at the University Hospital of Wales' A&E unit. She described the experience as "inhumane" and "deeply frustrating".

Eluned Morgan said she was "horrified" to hear Val's story, when questioned by ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters.

She said: "I've got to say I was horrified to hear Val's story. That was absolutely unacceptable. There has been an inspection that went into the hospital which really showed up some of the issues that need to be sorted out.

"I know the health board is taking steps to improve the situation but I hope that things like the £2million that we've announced this morning help at least to ensure that while Val is there she has a more comfortable time.

"I'd just like to apologise to Val for the NHS in this instance, falling short of where we should have been."

Ms Griffiths says the duration of her stay - from Tuesday, September 27 to Sunday, October 1 - was spent on a chair connected to an IV drip surrounded by other patients.

She said there was no privacy in her area of the unit, known as the 'IV lounge', and claims she wasn't given any medication for 24 hours as the staff had "accidentally scrubbed her name off the whiteboard".

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board apologised to Ms Griffiths for the care she received.

Ms Morgan was announcing the Welsh Government's winter plan for the NHS.

It includes £2m to upgrade emergency department waiting areas. The Welsh Government says this will be spent on improving seating, information screens, providing better access to water or food stations and improvements to Wi-Fi and electrical charging points.

The government also announced recruitment of 100 new ambulance clinicians.

Changes to staff rosters will also improve ambulance response times, the Health Minister said.

In response, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said: “Again, what we have is a statement of ambition, not a plan, and while what has been outlined includes positive steps, it comes far too late for an NHS long under pressure.

“In her press conference, the Health Minister said Covid has not gone away, but her predecessor said it would be ‘foolish’ to publish a recovery plan before the pandemic’s end – this reckless lack of preparation has left our health service in turmoil with patients and staff paying the price.

“Now 60,000 people are waiting over two years for treatment in Wales, when it is zero in England and Scotland. The Minister is living in a fantasy land if she thinks she can eliminate waits of over a year anytime soon when 1-in-4 patients are experiencing such delays thanks to Labour’s mismanagement.

“Labour need to get a grip on the NHS and stop breaking all the wrong records.”

PA Images.

Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said: “We know winter is always a challenging time for the health and care system. But with a particularly bad season predicted for respiratory viruses, including higher levels of flu and a recent increase in Covid cases and hospital admissions, it’s no secret that it’s expected to be the most difficult winter on record.

“Usually we see waiting lists and A&E waiting times come down in the summer, putting the NHS in a more stable position to deal with the winter months. However, this summer health and care services have seen extraordinary levels of demand, with staff working relentlessly to see and treat as many patients as possible. 

“NHS organisations have been working with local authority partners to prepare for winter and continue to make progress with the Covid booster programme and in other areas such as same day emergency care services. However, it’s anticipated that pressure on services will continue to increase into the winter months, making it harder to reach ambitious targets for planned care waiting lists.

“The NHS continues to strive to improve services, waiting times and outcomes for patients. But without key system changes, such as a long-term, sustainable plan and investment in social care, patient flow through the system will continue to be an issue and we’ll continue to see intense pressure on all parts of the health and care system, including emergency departments.  

“It’s now more important than ever for those eligible to take up the offer of the flu and Covid booster vaccines, it’s never too late to come forward. This winter will be particularly difficult for vulnerable people, including older people, especially with the addition of the health and wellbeing impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Therefore, it’s crucial people do what they can to keep themselves and their loved ones well and access services in the right way, for example by visiting NHS 111 Wales online if the situation is not life-threatening.”