Dangerous Cardiff Hospital report prompts MP inquiry call
An MP has called for an inquiry after surgeons said that patients had died waiting for heart surgery at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. The Royal College of Surgeons said the situation was dangerous and that children were also suffering due to delays. Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd claimed it was the Welsh equivalent of the Stafford Hospital scandal and hospital chiefs have said they are addressing the problems.
The report by the Royal College of Surgeons, the biggest hospital in Wales, was followed a visit by its surgical department in April. The report said there was universal consensus amongst the clinicians that services at the hospital were dangerous and of poor quality. An action plan has been agreed with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and will be reviewed in the autumn.
Ms Clwyd, who is conducting a review into complaints by hospital patients, told BBC Radio Wales that a public inquiry into the hospital should be chaired by someone from outside Wales. She pointed to UHW having the highest mortality rate of any hospital in Wales, adding that UHW accounted for the vast majority of complaints she had received from Wales. She said “I think it’s very serious and the equivalent of a Wales/Mid Staffs”.
The Royal College of Surgeons’ concerns included:
• Cardiac patients regularly dying on waiting lists with other patients’ hearts deteriorating while waiting, making subsequent treatment more difficult;
• Children regularly being fitted with hearing aids because of a lack of surgical time and resources to insert grommets to treat ear infections;
• Patients suffering complications because of delays in treating kidney stones;
• A&E and intensive care units being frequently grid-locked with patients often stacked up in corridors and ambulances.
The single most common complaint from the hospital’s surgeons was the inability to admit patients for scheduled, or elective, surgery. They reported that more than 2,000 operations were either not scheduled due to a lack of beds or cancelled in the first three months of this year.
The report said that doctors also believed the health board was reducing its scheduled surgery in order to reduce costs to meet end of year financial targets. An increase in waiting lists according to the report, meant that patients were “clearly coming to harm”.
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “This is clearly an alarming report by the Royal College of Surgeons and hopefully the Welsh Health Board will take up the reins immediately and investigate this in an effort to try and alleviate the problems that are being noted at this particular hospital. Hopefully by the time the RSC re-visit in September things will have improved”.
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