English hospitals on standby to treat Betsi Cadwaladr patients due to ‘operational pressures’
Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan has confirmed that some patients in the north of Wales could be transferred to English hospitals for treatment due to “operational pressures” over the coming month.
Patients could be treated at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital or Royal Stoke University Hospital after a contingency plan was agreed between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Welsh Government officials and the national leadership team in NHS England.
In a written statement the minister said the arrangement was put in place due to “immediate operational pressures due to consultant availability and nurse staffing in vascular services within the health board.
“The fragility of the service led the Health Board to consider contingency plans should the service not be able to be delivered as currently configured with the primary concern being the ability to provide a safe service for the population of North Wales,” she added.
Betsi Cadwaladr health board has faced mounting criticism over vascular services failings in the last two years, and yesterday was accused of letting frontline staff and patients down by Plaid Cymru Health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth.
His comments follow the latest in a series of critical reports into Vascular Services in the north of Wales, which highlighted concerns in relation to the management of aortic patients following the completion of a review of patients’ notes.
in March Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) designated the boards Vascular Service as a Service Requiring Significant Improvement and a series of additional measures were introduced to ensure safe delivery of care to patients.
These measures were reviewed regularly, and two requirements (including dual consultant operating) were removed on 23 May 2022 following a review that showed they were not adding any safety benefits.
An extraordinary tripartite meeting was held on 26 May as part of the NHS Wales escalation framework and the NHS Wales Chief Executive recommended that the targeted intervention status at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board should be extended beyond mental health and governance issues to incorporate Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, focusing in particular on the vascular service and emergency department.
During July, a number of patient safety quality concerns were raised by the Vascular Quality Panel in relation to the management of aortic patients.
These were escalated to the Board and a number of additional safety measures were subsequently reinstated for aortic patients.
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