Persistently high death rates in Welsh hospitals should be investigated: Listen to Sir Bruce Keogh. Bring back the Welsh Office.

The BBC reports 20th February 2014: Welsh hospital death rates investigation call (The BBC also interviews Mark Drakeford, Wales health minister, who is trying to claim that Wales needs different comparators to England, and that patients are not complaining…. But if you listen to the nurses and doctors, and appreciate the recruitment issues in these professions, the reader will realise that those close to the action feel the same as Bruce Keogh. Denial at high political levels is not helping Wales.)

Persistently high death rates in Welsh hospitals should be investigated, the medical director of the English NHS has suggested to his Welsh counterpart.

“Sir Bruce Keogh said data on rates in six Welsh hospitals was worrying but not adequate to “form a view”.

He called for an inquiry in an email sent in November, now released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Welsh government ruled out an inquiry and said data for England and Wales cannot be compared…..”

The Welsh Government has to agree with WHO International measures of health care. Figures for mortality and life expectancy may take time to come through, but they are comparable with other countries. So are Infant mortality and Perinatal Mortality. NHSreality has pointed out in other posts that Wales seems to be deliberately using different parameters to measure performance, (apples and pears) so that Wales is unable to compare itself with its close neighbour. Only a few years of Welsh devolution, and already the differences are beginning to show. With the emphasis on “reducing inequalities” rather than “raising standards” because there is only enough funding for the former is one of the reasons. Others are the poor infrastructure, the relative poverty, and the lack of aspiration (as reducing inequalities applies to Education as well). Recruiting professionals in such an environment is difficult as well and there is a general lack of applicants for posts in rural Wales. When will the Welsh wake up and realise that they have been sold a pup. How about a referendum of abolishing the WG, and having more money to spend on health and education? Bring back the Welsh Office.

Update 21st Feb 2013: There is evidence of systemic failure at both the centre (In this case Cardiff – Strokes) and in the periphery (Hywel Dda in Pembrokeshire – Postoperative care)

Update 21st February 2014 Chris Smyth for The Times reports:

Call for inquiry into harrowing care at ‘Welsh Mid Staffs’

“The NHS is under pressure to investigate a “Welsh Mid Staffs” scandal amid  concerns that the health service has failed to tackle poor care.

Relatives of patients who died in “harrowing” circumstances say there is a “sinister pattern” of neglect, which health chiefs have failed to take  seriously. Senior medical figures in England suggest there is a “sense of  complacency” in the Welsh NHS.

Medical safety campaigners fear the issue will become embroiled in a political  row as the Conservatives try to contrast problems in Wales with the English  NHS. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, recently said it was a “tragedy” that the Labour-run health service in Wales was not investigating  thoroughly.

Yesterday it emerged that the Labour MP Ann  Clwyd, who has previously said that her husband had “died like a battery  hen” in a hospital in Cardiff, had urged an investigation into high death  rates at several Welsh hospitals. She contacted the medical director of NHS  England, Sir Bruce Keogh, who said in an e-mail to his Welsh counterpart  that long waiting times for crucial tests in Wales were “worrying” and “warrant investigating”.

At a recent public meeting in Bridgend, dozens of people said they had seen  relatives at the Princess of Wales Hospital left in their own filth,  dehydrated or sedated, and medicines left out of reach. They said that their  concerns had been dismissed by staff. Police have arrested three nurses at  the hospital on suspicion of falsifying patient records….

It would be interesting to know the proportion of the annual £2.0 billion (£1.2 billion England) Health Service compensation bill accrues to Wales…. (Jon Ungoed-Thomas in The Sunday Times 22nd September 2013 – NHS coughs up £1.2bn to lawyers)

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Medical Education, Patient representatives, Post Code Lottery, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

2 thoughts on “Persistently high death rates in Welsh hospitals should be investigated: Listen to Sir Bruce Keogh. Bring back the Welsh Office.

  1. Pingback: Signs hospitals are ‘getting safer’, says deputy chief medical officer – Wait for the Palmer review and then judge for yourself! | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

  2. Pingback: The Welsh Governement (Assembly) is a parasite. It is sucking the life out of Health and Education | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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