Ysbyty Glan Clwyd: Sepsis patients waited 12 hours for antibiotics, reveals damning report

It was the third inspection in a year for the Emergency Department at the hospital but HIW highlighted that still not enough improvement has been made. Credit: ITV News

Some sepsis patients at a north Wales hospital waited 12 hours for their first dose of antibiotics, according to a damning report by Health Inspectorate Wales.

Inspectors found significant delays in patients receiving care in the Emergency Department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, which is ran by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

It was the third inspection in a year for the department at the hospital but HIW highlighted that still not enough improvement has been made.

A director for the troubled health board admitted it is "clear we still have some way to go".

The report noted the behaviour of staff, claiming some staff were "rude and hostile" during interactions with the inspection team, Credit: ITV News

Inspectors say that at one point during their visit in to the emergency department in November 2022, they stepped in to support a patient who was unwell and needed help in an unsupervised corridor, but no staff could be located.

The report also noted the behaviour of staff, claiming some were "rude and hostile" during interactions with the inspection team, while a small number of staff were overheard using derogatory language to describe patients.

Shortages of staff, high numbers of seriously unwell patients and a lack of space to treat them in were all raised as significant issues at the hospital.

The visit to the hospital in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, took place in November after previous visits in March and May of last year.

Inspectors highlighted the poor sepsis screening at the emergency department. It was discovered that some sepsis patients waited 12 hours for antibiotics.

According to NHS advice, sepsis patients should get antibiotics within 1 hour of arriving at hospital. If it is not treated early, sepsis can turn into septic shock and cause life-threatening organ failure.

HIW noted that some staff were stressed and tearful. They told inspectors they often felt unhappy, struggled with the workload and did not feel supported by health board senior leaders.

They did, however, praise the managers who worked directly within the department, and we found that at this local level, both senior medical leadership and senior nursing leadership was supportive and visible

Inspectors acknowledged that staff were working tirelessly in the challenging environment to provide the best care that they could.

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, a hospital under the Betsi Cadwaladr health board, was specifically placed in targeted intervention in September 2022.

Chief Executive of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), Alun Jones, said the department was "struggling to cope with the day-to-day demand of providing a safe service to patients."

He said: [the visit] "Has highlighted areas such as poor team working between the ED and other departments within the hospital which in turn is compounding nationally recognised challenges around patient flow.

"The health board will need to take strong and decisive action to tackle the issues identified in our inspection. We will continue to engage with the health board to ensure sustained action is taken in relation to our findings."

Dr Nick Lyons, executive medical director and interim deputy chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, apologised for the instances where patients did not receive "the level of care they deserved".

He said: “It is true staff within the ED at Glan Clwyd Hospital have been under enormous strain for the past three years and this has increased since restrictions eased.

“However, the fragility in staffing and the volume of acutely unwell people we receive each day means we remain a service requiring significant improvement."

He added: “Despite the issues raised in the report inspectors acknowledged progress has been made but we know this needs to accelerate."

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