Princess of Wales Hospital 'failed' in care of patient

image captionThe patient died days after being admitted to the Princess of Wales Hospital

A hospital failed in the way it treated an elderly woman who later died, according to a highly critical report from Wales' Public Services Ombudsman.

The 82-year-old's family raised concerns that nurses at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend did not call a doctor when she was admitted to A&E.

They also believed she was initially being allowed to die.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board accepted recommendations to review procedures and train nurses.

It also apologised to the family and paid them £1,000 in compensation.

The family complained to the independent watchdog after the woman - who is not named in the report - was taken to A&E from a care home in July 2010.

The patient's daughter, who has worked in the ambulance service and was with her mother at the hospital, said a nurse there did not administer the treatment her condition required.

She said a doctor was not called, despite repeated requests, and that it appeared her mother was being left to die.

The daughter believed this lack of medical intervention led to her mother's death in the hospital some days later.

Public inquiry call

In the report the ombudsman's clinical advisers were highly critical of the failure of staff to deal with the elderly woman's condition on arrival.

They could not find any evidence of appropriate intervention, such as nursing staff calling a doctor.

There were also delays in administering medication.

The advisers could not however say that these failures had contributed to the patient's death.

The ombudsman recommended that the health board apologise to the family, pay compensation and review its procedures and the professional competence and training of the nursing staff involved in the case.

The health board accepted the recommendations.

In a statement, it said several improvements have already been made, or are underway, including additional staff training and better record-keeping.

"In May - partially in response to a draft of this ombudsman's report - ABMU Health Board set up a clinically-led senior team specifically to investigate concerns about some of the care delivered at the Princess of Wales Hospital and to instigate urgent changes," a health board spokeswoman said.

"The focus of this work has been on the emergency department and the clinical decision unit (and also medical wards).

"The board and clinical team have acted swiftly and already significant actions have been put in place."

She said a chief nurse for the hospital had been appointed, along with an assistant medical director with a specific focus on the hospital.

The hospital has also placed a "huge emphasis" on re-training, 30 nurses are also being appointed to the hospital, and the health board plans to increase the number of senior nurses in the emergency department, the spokeswoman added.

The case comes days after a BBC Wales investigation uncovered allegations that another elderly patient was repeatedly neglected at the the same hospital, which sparked calls for a public inquiry.

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