Posted: Mon 17th Apr 2023

Patients “deserve better than repeated failings” at Betsi Cadwaladr, says north Wales politician

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Apr 17th, 2023

A north Wales politician has called for senior executives at the region’s health board to be held accountable after the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales found the dignity of a patient with bowel care needs had been compromised. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A public interest report into shortcomings in medical and nursing care received by the patient, who later died, was released last week. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

An investigation was launched by the Ombudsman after Mrs A complained about the care her sister, Ms B, received from Betsi Cadwaladr when in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd between May 2019 and May 2020. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms B, who was 60 at the time of her death in May 2020, was a wheelchair user with long-standing health conditions who needed regular care to be delivered by nursing team. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The complainant was concerned about delays in kidney treatment received by her sister. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She also complained that her sister received inadequate bowel care when she was admitted to the hospital in April and May 2020 with breathing problems. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Ombudsman was concerned that Ms B went home without being seen by a doctor but decided it was not possible to say that the failure to carry out the bowel care, or the lack of communication about this, contributed to Ms B’s death as she was “very unwell with other problems.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However it was the Ombudsman’s view that the failure in bowel care meant that there was a loss of dignity for Ms B. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Michelle Morris, said: “I am concerned that although Ms B herself and Mrs A clearly informed the nursing staff of Ms B’s bowel care needs, that was not given the attention that it should have had – particularly given the possible serious medical consequences of not doing so. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We cannot say for sure that the fact that Ms B did not receive the bowel care she needed contributed to her death, as she was very unwell with other problems. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“However, I have no doubt that the failings I have identified caused her avoidable and unnecessary pain and discomfort as well as compromised her dignity.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The north Wales health board has been the subject of several damning reports over the last 12 months, leading to it being placed back in special measures by the Welsh government. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welsh Conservative Shadow North Wales Minister, Darren Millar MS said that patients in the region deserve better. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Millar, who represents the Clwyd West constituency, said: “I was distressed to read the ombudsman report highlighting inadequate care for yet another patient in North Wales and further shortcomings when it came to the record keeping by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Patients in North Wales deserve better than the repeated failings issued in report after report and the senior executives at the Health Board must be held accountable.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS added: “Patients deserve dignity and respect when they are unwell and undergoing treatment in hospital. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Sadly, in this case, a lady in North Wales was let down and it resulted in tragic consequences. Lessons need to be learnt.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Commenting on the Ombudsman’s findings Dr Nick Lyons, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s interim deputy CEO and executive medical director, said: “I would like to sincerely apologise again to this patient’s family for the distress caused both during her treatment and the period of their complaint. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We acknowledge the Ombudsman’s report, accept all the recommendations in full and have made sure the lessons contained within it have been made clear to all staff involved. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We can only gain the trust of the public we serve by being completely transparent about failings when they occur – and we are fully committed to that principle.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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