Friday, 21 February 2014

Health scandal that doesn't make the headlines because it is in Wales

Peter Black AM has called for a public inquiry into Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board hospitals, now the centre of a police investigation. This week's Private Eye magazine, which has well-qualified medical practitioners among its correspondents, has drawn attention to the similarities between the complaints made against the mid-Staffordshire hospital which led to the Francis inquiry.

The Eye devotes three-quarters of a page to an egregious case of mis-diagnosis (probably leading to unnecessary death), deprivation of fluid, food and vital medication over a weekend, and instances of cruelty over three other separate admissions " - the last two under the noses of police and social services, who had then been alerted by the family and were part of a genuine POVA [Protection Of Vulnerable Adults] investigation." But there are at least 39 other patients included in the police investigation.

Over 100 people came to the Heronstone Hotel last month to relate their experiences at a public meeting last month organised by Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), which Peter attended. It was here that the scale of failings was shown to be similar to that in mid-Staffs, where, the Eye recalls, "patients were found to be routinely neglected, humiliated and left in pain, as the trust focused on cost-cutting and government targets." I would only add that the NHS budget in Wales has been cut in cash terms, that is, more severely than the NHS in England.

Peter puts on record that "There are lots of examples of very good care in these hospitals from a dedicated and hard-working staff", but he clearly agrees with the Eye's conclusion that "Only a full Mid-Staffs-type inquiry will discover how many others have suffered unnecessarily".

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