MP Ann Clwyd to continue calls for Welsh NHS changes

Ann Clwyd is under pressure to allow an investigation into her husband's death to be made public

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Labour MP Ann Clwyd said her criticism of the Welsh NHS is not personal and she will continue to call for changes.

The Cynon Valley MP claimed her husband spent 27 hours on a trolley before dying in 2012.

She has since led a UK government-commissioned inquiry on how NHS hospitals in England handle complaints.

The Welsh government said material provided by Ms Clwyd had not enabled it or the NHS to investigate her allegations of poor care.

Ms Clwyd said she had received hundreds of letters patients expressing concern over experiences in Welsh hospitals.

Start Quote

I shall keep on speaking out until I see changes in the issues that I've talked about”

End Quote Ann Clwyd Labour MP

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, the MP insisted that she had "tried to separate" her NHS investigations and her own personal experience of the health service in Wales.

"I think my interest, my concerns, were first aroused by what happened to my husband.

"But in looking at the evidence, I've always tried to separate them and I must say I spoke in the House of Commons about a week ago about one year since the Francis report.

"The key warning signs that Francis mentioned - accumulation of patient stories detailing adverse incidents, bad practice, unusually high mortality statistics, signals from staff and whistleblowers, poor governance dysfunctional hospital wards and also weak regulation.

Stafford scandal

"All of these could be taken across to Wales because all these are true about Wales."

She said last year that the deaths of patients waiting for heart surgery at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, were the equivalent of the Stafford Hospital scandal, highlighted by the Francis report.

Speaking on Friday, Ms Clwyd again defended herself against claims that she had not given the Labour-led Welsh government facts or evidence on her concerns about the Welsh NHS.

That allegation was made by First Minister Carwyn Jones in the assembly earlier in the week, when he told AMs that the MP had "produced no evidence and no facts" to back up her case.

But Ms Clwyd said she would continue to press for changes - and insisted it was not a political decision.

'No political football'

Ann Clwyd spoke to Mai Davies on Good Morning Wales

"I care about the Welsh NHS," she added. "I shall continue to talk about what I think is necessary to happen in the Welsh NHS.

"I shall keep on speaking out until I see changes in the issues that I've talked about.

"I don't want this to be used as a political football and in the letter that I wrote to the first minister nearly four months ago I made the point that I felt this was a Labour issue and it was an opportunity for Labour to speak out, for Labour to show that we recognise the kind of things that Francis recognised.

"And it took the campaigner in Mid Staffs two years for people to take her complaint seriously.

"I'm going to carry on talking about it and I hope somebody somewhere will realise that this is not an attack on any political party. This is a call for things to be put right in the Welsh NHS for the sake of patients."

The Welsh government said Ann Clwyd had provided ministers with a "useful summary of the themes emerging from her work in England".

"Her report to the prime minister is available to all the organisations which guarantee the quality and safety of NHS Wales," said a spokesman.

"We have also made sure it is available to Keith Evans, the former chief executive and managing director of Panasonic UK and Ireland, who is reviewing the NHS complaints process in Wales.

"On December 3, 2013 Ann Clwyd provided the first minister with a series of anonymised extracts from letters she had received.

"These extracts included comments such as: 'general uncaring attitude'; 'varied experiences of nursing care'; 'his care on urology was outstanding'; 'other nurses kind' and 'former student nurse commenting on the shortcomings of the UHW building'.

"Ann Clwyd also provided other available information, data and criticism about NHS Wales. Unfortunately, none of these has enabled the Welsh government or the NHS to investigate the allegations of poor care which Ann Clwyd has persistently raised over the last 12 months."

Cardiff and Vale health board said it had nothing to add to previous statements on the issue, but pointed out mortality data released by the Welsh government showed the University Hospital of Wales had improved since Ms Clwyd first made her claims.

The board also said it had announced on Friday it had reviewed 1,000-plus case notes of deaths in hospital to provide "extra assurance".

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