Staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital failed to care for an adult with learning disabilities, says report

  • The Welsh Ombudsman says staff failed to manage Ms A's conditions.

Staff at a hospital in north Wales failed to care for an adult with learning disabilities, according to a new report.

The Welsh Ombudsman launched an investigation after a woman, referred to in the report as Ms D, complained about the care and treatment her sister, Ms A, received from Wrexham Maelor Hospital in July 2022.

Ms A had several medical conditions, including epilepsy, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. She lived in a nursing home, had limited communication, and required 24 hour care and support.

A Public Interest Report issued by the Ombudsman found failings in nursing care for Ms A, including failing to monitor and manage Ms A’s pain and epilepsy.

Ms Morris said that the patient would have been "very frightening and distressing because her pain wasn't managed properly".

The report also highlighted that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board failed to communicate with her and support her personal care needs, nutrition and hydration.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says it's taking action to improve care.

Michelle Morris, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said that "under the equalities act in this country, anyone who has a disability an is in a care setting such as a hospital expects and has the right to have reasonable adjustments made.

"So the staff should be aware of their disability, should be aware of any limitations on their capacity to make decisions about their own care, and that didn't happen in that case.

"And for the patient concerned, that would have been very frightening and distressing because her pain wasn't managed properly, her epilepsy wasn't managed properly and her very specific needs weren't taken into account."

Ms Morris added that the reason she has published the public interest report is because there is some "important learning to be taken from this that is not only applicable to this health board, to Betsi Cadwaladr, but to all health boards in Wales who offer care to people with limited capacity and disabilities."

Dr Chris Stockport, Executive Director of Transformation and Strategic Planning for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “I sincerely apologise to Ms A and D, on behalf of the Health Board, and we will also writing a direct letter of apology for the failings in the care we provided and how the complaint was handled.“Ms A’s care fell below the standard we expect, and we accept all of the Ombudsman's recommendations."While we welcome the Ombudsman's acknowledgement of the progress we have made so far, we know there is more to do and we are taking further action to improve services and the standard of care and treatment we provide.”

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