Welsh hospital care and ministerial apologies


The "Trusted to Care" report outlines some of the worst examples of care in the NHS in Wales since the beginning of devolution, which incidentally happened exactly 15 years ago this week.

It was striking at First Minister's Questions how the usual yah-boo politics surrounding the state of the NHS was entirely absent.

The First Minister opened up immediately by accepting the invitation from the leader of the Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, to apologise and to accept that the report was shocking.

I'm told that members of the Welsh government were taken aback by some of the report's findings into standards of care for the elderly at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Carwyn Jones says ministers can't be aware of everything that goes on in every hospital ward across Wales but instead we should judge him on the response to any failures that are identified.

There were conference calls across health boards this morning in which they were told they have a month to respond before a series of spot checks get underway across Wales.

The current chair of ABMU health board, the former Welsh Government minister Andrew Davies, said he considered his position but is continuing in the job.

No 'blame game'

But as Carwyn Jones said there won't be any heads rolling as a result and that was echoed by the Health Minister Mark Drakeford in the chamber when he stressed that the reaction should be about being constructive rather than blaming people.

The question is whether that will be enough to satisfy people when such a damning report has been published which talks about a disconnection between front-line staff and managers.

We already know it won't be enough to satisfy some of the relatives.

And we already know that the series of spot checks will not be enough to satisfy the continuing calls for a full Keogh-style public inquiry.

There are two sides to this debate. On one, the Welsh government says its refusal to hold a public inquiry is not because of a lack of transparency. It says that where there are problems it becomes aware of it responds and you could argue that is what happened here.

The flip side is the argument that unless there's a pan-Wales inquiry there'll be no guarantee that problems like these are not happening elsewhere.

The Conservatives in particular make the point that things have reached such a stage that an inquiry is the only way to restore confidence.

There'll be plenty of debate to follow. One of the main issues will be the inspection regime and failures of the system to pick these problems up in the first place.

The state of the NHS has been the big political issue in Wales for some time. Reports like this will ensure it stays that way for some time to come.

Nick Servini Article written by Nick Servini Nick Servini Political editor, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    #15 There seems to be an impression that running a blood test is like using a washing machine. Put the tablet in and press the button. Good training, good inspection, good maintenance and good quality control are essential. If you think all testers are the same, get hold of the inter-lab quality-control chart.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Simple blood test are easy to process. Results can be available the same day. Nurses are competent to take blood, fill in a request form and follow up the result. That's how the NHS used to run. What's changed?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I would expect these nurses undertaking blood tests are, trained competently, checked and supervised, do you know something else or making an assumption? or is it you believe the NHS should be like the old boiler makers "one man one job"

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    #13 As with most things in modern life, it all depends on whether you think things like having your gas-fire fitted by a registered engineer is a sensible H&S precaution, or an expensive rip-off preserving jobs for the lads.
    Similarly for having lab tests run by qualified MLSOs. Or at least supervised by them. Would the practice manager recognise a quality control chart ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    #11 in Cornwall recently on attending the local health centre I was informed I needed a blood test so I asked them to send the result to my Welsh GP when they have it in the next week, Whoaa I was told the nurses here can process your blood test (been trained apparently) and we will let you know in 2 to 3 hours.
    Wales 2 week wait and week for results.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    The real tragedy is that WAG ruined comparison between NHS-W and NHS-E by the WL tax from NHS. This means NHS-W is competing with one arm tied.
    It may well be that organising NHS into regions would have allowed competition and comparison, leading to improvement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    The UK-Gov policy is based on London, B'ham & M'chester where competition is practical. Even there, competition implies duplicated facilities that may be rationalised. In rural areas like Pembs, Cornwall, Sutherland, there can be no competition. Few of us live within reach of DGH facilities at two sites.
    So, we have to accept Devo for NHS-W. That doesn't mean it should not be improved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    #9 "CJ still believes Welsh NHS is superior to English"
    The odd thing is that, at a certain level, I believe that it is. In spite of the 'market reforms' that were supposed to bring in competition, relations between senior clinical staff at adjoining hospitals are still mainly cordial. In non-clinical analogy, if you want your apprentice chippy to practice double-glazed windows next door, he can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Watched our four 'political leaders on the box discussing 15 years of the Welsh Assembly and their aspirations for next 15 years Lots of self-congratulations and all but one want more powers in the next 15 years Objective assessment NONE and I found them dishonest No mention of WL implications on NHS, education and economy and CJ still believes Welsh NHS is superior to English

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    No Boxer...private sector involvement is NOT the answer but competent management with competent political oversight is an essential.

    Once more, as in many other areas we are just dogged by low calibre management and politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    6 Boxer I don't know the answer to your question.
    The issue is however who is taking responsibility for the shortcomings revealed in this latest report. Sure budgets are an issue and always will be as we expect more and more from the NHS. However this is not only about money. A caring attitude costs nothing. The WAG should have ordered a full review years ago

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Does anyone here think that having the NHS-W run by Serco, with 'locally negotiated pay rates {carers on zero hours; minimum wage + tuppence} will solve all - or indeed any - of the problems.
    Even I don't think that transferring money - from the WL levy in the NHS to 'competive' rates for private sector CEs - will improve anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    How sad that NS opens with a comment on Westminster, which so far has been the only Gov prepared to try to shine a light on NHS Wales. Unlike NS, I doubt that anyone in the WAG were taken aback by the findings of the report. If they were then they have utterly failed in their jobs. No heads to roll, just stay on the gravy train. The majority of front line NHS staff are lions led by donkeys

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    No one has any idea of the multiplicity of failures in some hospitals. Alongside excellent high standard work, low grade couldn't care less attitudes are tolerated particularly amongst nurses some of whom lack average intelligence let alone a caring bent and professionalism.
    My father died not because of the operation he went in for but from bedsores. Just plain neglect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    "But as Carwyn Jones said there won't be any heads rolling as a result and that was echoed by the Health Minister Mark Drakeford..."

    It isn't heads that should roll in the Welsh NHS and education - it's the whole bloody devolved political system that should be shut down!

    15 years of abject failure! Failure stacked upon failure with no end in sight!

    Do not pass go, do not collect £200, just GO!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Ensuring my father received adequate post ITU care on the ward of one of Wales's largest hospital, was like wading through treacle. It was a miracle he survived. We were in the fortunate position to have medical expertise in the family and used it to ensure a good outcome. It was the most exhausting, traumatic and frustrating 4 months of my entire life. How do other people cope?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Well well well! The Dear Leader now admits there is a problem (including in his own constituency) despite having denied it for years. However Mark (Derek Nimmo) Drakeford says no pne can be blamed. Well DC and MD, ask not for whom the bell tolls.....chickens are coming home to roost. As for Andrew Davies, hang your head in shame!



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