NHS Wales must learn from mistakes, says quality report

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Image caption 92.9% of five-year-olds had MMR vaccines as a result of the measles outbreak in 2012/13

NHS Wales must continue to "learn from its mistakes", says its chief executive in his first annual quality report.

There has been a fall in hospital infections while vaccination levels are at a record high.

Dr Andrew Goodall said the NHS was also "working hard" to improve after a review criticised the care of elderly patients at two hospitals.

He said patient "dignity and respect" was very important and action had to be taken when this did not happen.

The statement lists the areas where the NHS has made improvements as well as challenges ahead.

Those difficulties included waiting times and action taken following the investigation into the care of elderly patients on some wards in the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and Neath and Port Talbot general.

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Dr Goodall, who took over a year ago, also said the NHS is bringing in changes in how it deals with complaints.

Assembly members last August warned of a "lockdown culture" over the issue.

"Our underlying principle is that we must learn from our mistakes," said Dr Goodall.

"NHS Wales must continue to improve so it can provide you and your family with high-quality care when you need it most."

He added: "We are committed to putting things right if we get them wrong."

The number of MRSA deaths have fallen again, with 19 in 2013, compared to a high point of 109 a decade ago.

Although there have been improvements in hospital infection rates, Dr Goodall admits they were still too high and there was "still some way to go".

His priorities for the next year include:

  • Getting to grips with treatment delays
  • Providing better dementia care and earlier diagnosis
  • Giving more support to people to help them live more healthily

There will also be more spot checks on hospitals and the results of inspections inside all mental health wards and units in Wales are expected to be released later this week.

ANALYSIS from Owain Clarke, BBC Wales health correspondent

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Media captionDr Andrew Goodall said he plans to hold more hospital spot checks

It's a service that is constantly under the spotlight and under pressure and when things go wrong in the NHS there is understandably a huge amount of concern.

The recent scandal at the now closed, Tawel Fan ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd demonstrated clear and disturbing examples of inexcusable care for the most vulnerable mental health patients.

Relatives said patients on the mental health ward, which was shut in 2013, were treated like animals in a zoo.


Before then care failings involving older patients at Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend caused worry and anguish.

But the NHS in Wales, according to its chief executive, is doing a lot to learn the lessons.

Dr Andrew Goodall said all health bodies across Wales now have to publish annual reports about safety and quality.

His report highlights "excellent work" and projects from across the country. In a nutshell he says there is a lot to be proud of.

"Overnight kidney dialysis for patients in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg is one example where staff on the ground are not just focused on quality but trying to innovate in what is still quite a difficult day-to-day environment for them," he said.

Patients generally appreciate the care they experience; around 90% say they are very satisfied.

Opposition parties have for a long time complained that performance is not up to scratch in several areas; some targets have not been hit in many years.

In response, Dr Goodall said his priorities for the next 12 months include tackling treatment delays - not only in A&E but also delays in referring patients from their GPs for hospital tests and treatment.

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