Betsi Cadwaladr board's' 'sheer sequence of similar failings' concern

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board
Image caption The health board admitted that some of the patient's care was below standard

A troubled health board has been told to improve its patient record keeping and hospital discharges by a watchdog.

Betsi Cadwaladr is to be reported to NHS inspectors after the Public Services Ombudsman found a series of failings in patient care.

Two hospitals failed in the care of a patient with Parkinson's Disease.

The board has admitted below standard care but ombudsman Peter Tyndall said the board's "sheer sequence of similar failings" was a major concern.

Mr Tyndall has conducted five similar inquires connected with Betsi in the last year.

"We've certainly issued a series of reports about this issue at Betsi," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"I'm not saying that it's isolated to them because we've issued similar reports elsewhere. But it was just the sheer sequence of similar failings that caused us concern."

Last month the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board accepted a highly critical report into its mismanagement by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and the Wales Audit Office (WAO).

In the latest incident a patient known as Mr Q was admitted to Glan Clwyd Hospital in Denbighshire in May 2011. But his records had not been properly completed, meaning it was unclear whether he had received any of his medication.

Later that month at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Mr Tyndall's report said records failed to fully reflect Mr Q's anxious and difficult behaviour and the actions taken by staff, resulting in Mr Q being discharged without an assessment.

Mr Tyndall found records of his medication had not been completed and it was "impossible to say" whether he had received any of his Parkinson's disease medicine.

'Consistently follow through'

Asked what he was going to do, Mr Tyndall said: "As you know there are major changes afoot at Betsi Cadwaladr and from our perspective the jury's out really.

"We'll be watching carefully to see whether we continue to get complaints along these lines or whether they're taking effective measures to deal with them. We think they need to be sampling case records sufficiently regularly to reassure themselves that things are being done properly on the wards.

"The point I've made consistently is its fine we issue a report{and} they take some action.

"But they need to consistently follow through on those actions to make sure that the actions continue, that they happen across the health board and not just in the area where the concerns have arisen and that they're effective."

Following the pattern of similar complaints, he decided to make his latest report public and said it was "appropriate" to bring it to the attention of HIW.

He recommended the health board apologise to the patient and his wife and pay them £750 in compensation.

Angela Hopkins, executive director of nursing, midwifery and patient services for the health board, said: "We have received the ombudsman's report and we recognise that some of the care we gave was below the standard that should have been provided.

"We have apologised directly to the family and I would again like to say how sorry we are for the distress and concern we caused.

"We fully accept the recommendations in the report and we have already taken action on many of the issues that are raised."

"Last year we introduced a new and improved discharge protocol and set up sessions for staff to meet and discuss the new arrangements to make sure everyone was clear on how it should be used."

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