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13th May 2014

Trusted To Care: Spot-checks into care of older people in Welsh hospitals ordered

The care of older people in all major hospitals in Wales will be inspected following the publication of a damning report into care provided by a South Wales health board, Health Minister Mark Drakeford has said today (May 13).

Prof Drakeford said a series of unannounced spot checks focusing on the delivery of medication, hydration, night time sedation and continence care will be conducted by experts at district general hospitals in Wales.

The announcement follows the publication of the damning Trusted To Care report into care at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot hospitals. It followed the neglect of patient Lilian Williams, 82, who died after being treated at both hospitals.

Her family complained and a review was ordered by Health Minister Mark Drakeford into levels of care offered by both hospitals.

The review team catalogued a series of failings at the two hospitals, describing "a sense of hopelessness" in its care for frail and elderly patients. It found "poor professional behaviour" and a "lack of suitably qualified, educated and motivated staff." One patient told the review team: "I am in Hell."

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board subsequently apologised and admitted the case had been "completely unacceptable".

Mark Drakeford's recommendations following the review

The Trusted To Care report makes 18 recommendations, including four for the Welsh Government, which have been accepted in full.

As a result of the report, the Health Minister has ordered:

  • Immediate improvements to standards of care at Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot hospitals.
  • A series of unannounced spot checks by a ministerial team of experts to check standards of care for elderly patients at district general hospitals in Wales. The spot checks will focus on the delivery of medication, hydration, night time sedation and continence care. This work will be overseen by Prof June Andrews and Sir Ian Carruthers, who has held a number of senior roles in the NHS, including chief executive of NHS South of England.
  • A new task group, including the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, will lead the operation of the spot checks and report back to the Health Minister.

Mark Drakeford said: “This review does not make easy reading; it will be particularly difficult for all concerned with the care of older people in these hospitals.

“As the Health Minister, I give my unreserved apology to those individuals and their families whose care has fallen short of what they might expect from the Welsh NHS. I have been shocked by some of what I have read in this report.

“I am determined that nothing of this sort will be tolerated in these two hospitals, in this health board or indeed anywhere else in Wales in the future. I am not going to pick and choose parts of this report. The actions we need to make have been made clear and must be taken as a whole.

“That is why I have ordered a series of actions to ensure that the standards that we demand of our health service are being delivered and to reassure patients.

“I have met the chair and chief executive of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and made it clear I expect immediate improvements to patient care at both hospitals.”

Read more on this story:

Walesonline: Elderly care in all major hospitals to be inspected following shocking report into failings within South Wales health board

BBC News: Spot checks into OAP hospital care

Welsh Government: Minister takes action on Trusted To Care findings




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