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:
“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)