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Welsh NHS will learn from report on failings in England - minister

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths says the Welsh NHS will learn from a damning report into neglect at English hospitals. She said the health service in Wales will use the Francis Report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust to avoid 'systemic failure.'

The minister said she would 'comment fully before summer recess' and would hold an Assembly debate to work out 'the Welsh approach' to any problems.

As Assembly Members, we all know from our post bags things sadly do go wrong. There can be no simple guarantees in what is a people run system. The vast majority of our staff do an excellent job under great pressure, sometimes, in challenging circumstances. What we must insure against is the risk of any wide ‘systemic’ failure. Everyone, public, patient and NHS employee, places Safe Care, Compassionate Care at the centre of our NHS Wales culture. This means a culture which is open, transparent and learns from mistakes.

Care and compassion is not something which can be mandated upon and which employee would not say this is what they do daily? There is a leadership challenge for NHS Boards and Trusts and all organisations who deliver care in Wales. I want NHS Wales to demonstrate how the public can be confident we are listening actively, being vigilant for every learning opportunity and addressing any problems fairly with passion and pace, both now and into the future.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Health Minister


Changes to cervical screening announced in Wales

Two changes to screening for cervical cancer in Wales have been announced by Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.

  • The age that women receive their first invitation for cervical screening will change from 20 to 25
  • Women over 50 who are routinely called for screening could be invited every five years, rather than every three

The changes will be brought in this year following recommendations from the UK National Screening Committee and the Wales Screening Committee.

Cervical screening already begins at the age of 25 in England and Northern Ireland.

Mephedrone: campaign highlights dangers of 'miaow miaow'

The Health Minister will launch a campaign later today to highlight the dangers of using the banned substance mephedrone. Commonly called 'meow meow' or 'miaow miaow', it is estimated that three-hundred thousand young people in the UK used the drug last year.

The dramatic rise in the use of mephedrone is concerning given the serious mental and physical harm the drug can cause both in the short and long term.

As a class B drug mephedrone carries a penalty of up to 5 years for possession and 14 years for supply. One of the aims of our campaign is to educate people about the dangers of the drug and the damage it can cause.

– Health Minister Lesley Griffiths AM

The drug - which is described as a mix between amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy - can cause heart palpitations, paranoia, vomiting, agitation, fits, suicidal thoughts and depression. In Wrexham a new drop in centre opens this morning due to "increased demand" from drug users.


New system to assess health care quality

A system aimed at driving up standards in the NHS in Wales will be introduced this year.

NHS organisations have been asked to produce annual quality statements by the Welsh Government, which will give patients access to a range of information about the services available to them and how well those services are performing.

We need to ensure every patient, every day, gets excellent quality care wherever and whenever they receive it.We must be able to show clearly that we are doing the right thing, in the right way, in the right place, at the right time and with the right staff.

The aim of the Annual Quality Statement is to introduce systems for assuring high quality care and to improve health outcomes so Wales can match the best healthcare in the world.

– Health Minister Lesley Griffiths

NHS organisations will also introduce new 'quality triggers' including patient feedback, which will allow the organisations to monitor the services they provide and pick up signs of any potential risks.

UNISON: "Logical and rational response" to demands on Welsh NHS

In response to the Health Minister’s announcement of a £82m contingency fund for struggling health boards, Dawn Bowden, UNISON Cymru/Wales head of health, said:

Clearly, the quality and standards of the NHS in Wales is of the utmost importance to us all.

The NHS and NHS workers in Wales are under enormous and ever increasing pressures. We know that our members strive day in and day out to deliver the best possible care for patients.

UNISON agrees that the contingency funding announced today by the Health Minister will help our members to continue to provide a service they are proud of and so we welcome this decision.

We know that this is not a ‘bail out’, but is a logical and rational response to the demands that the Welsh NHS is currently facing.”

– Dawn Bowden, UNISON Cymru/Wales

Plaid responds to £82 million health cash injection

It seems we’ve been here before. This £82 million bailout comes after repeated assurances given to us by the Minister that Health Boards would break even.

The Minister also told the committee that three Health Boards may be allowed more at the end of the year through brokerage.

It shows that the government has simply not got a grip on the health service.

This time, the Minister has raided the capital budget to pay for this...

It’s becoming clear that there is a lack of financial planning and robust financial management as well, which will inevitable effect frontline services.

– Elin Jones AM, Health Spokesperson
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