News in brief: Health boards compensation bill tops £265m over last 4 years
Health boards in Wales have paid out more than £265 million of compensation to patients and their families following medical errors in the last four years.
A freedom of information (FOI) request by the Welsh Conservatives revealed that between 2016-17 and 2019-20 a total of £265,503,877 was paid out following 3,081 separate medical negligence claims.
Hywel Dda and Cardiff and Vale University Health Boards were both unable to provide details of payments made in 2019-2020, meaning the overall figure is likely to be even higher.
Swansea Bay University Health Board paid out the most compensation, £68.7 million over the four years. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was second in the spending list at £65.5m.
Overall Betsi Cadwaladr UHB has the highest number of claims made against it over the last four years, at 990, followed by Swansea Bay at 600.
Commenting on the FOI findings, the Shadow Minister for Health, Social Care and Sport, Andrew RT Davies MS, said: “Our fantastic Welsh NHS staff are under immense pressure in delivering care to thousands of patients up and down Wales, but they also need to be given more confidence to perform their vital duties – not left out to dry when an accident occurs.
“On the whole our NHS in Wales delivers a first-class treatment to the people of Wales, but where bad practice occurs it must be rooted out.”
Concern continues over Wrexham Covid-19 hotspot
The latest figures released by Public Health Wales confirm two new deaths due to coronavirus in Wales, both recorded in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area, covering Wrexham, which is at the centre of a recent surge of infections.
Nine new cases were recorded in Wales in the last 24 hours. Three of those were in Wrexham and the other was on Anglesey, also part of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
In the last month, outbreaks at two food factories – 2 Sisters at Llangefni on Anglesey and Rowan Foods in Wrexham, have seen more than 500 people test positive for Covid-19.
Across the health board there are close to 70 Covid-19 positive patients in Wrexham Maelor Hospital, two cases at Chirk Hospital, two at Mold Community Hospital and three confirmed at Deeside Hospital.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, accounts for around 22% of the Welsh population, but has the highest death toll in Wales due to the virus with 383 fatalities dating back to March.
The total number of deaths in Wales due to the virus now stands at 1,556.
Overall, 17,232 people have now tested positive for the illness, 4,571 of those in Betsi Cadwaladr, the highest of any health board area.
Consultation launched on plans to reduce single use plastics
The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn, has launched a consultation on the Welsh Government’s proposals to ban a range of single use plastic items.
The government says its ambition is for a Wales free from unnecessary, single use plastics.
If the proposals are implemented, a range of single use, hard to recycle and commonly littered plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds, polystyrene food and drinks containers would be banned.
The proposals set out in the consultation will seek to remove highly littered plastics from the supply chain and, therefore, the environment.
Many businesses are already responding to consumer demand for more sustainable products and the proposals in the consultation seek to accelerate this shift.
Lesley Jones, CEO Keep Wales Tidy said: “We welcome the launch of this important Welsh Government consultation. The damage caused by plastics is far reaching and we are eager to see a drive towards reusable alternatives across society. “
“This consultation marks the next phase of an ongoing journey which we hope will lead to a series of bold policy actions by government to reduce plastic at source.”
Drink Drive Rehabilitation scheme to resume online
The government has confirmed that people wanting to complete the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme will be able to complete the programme entirely online, on a temporary basis.
The course is a 16-hour training programme, which aims to prevent future reoffending. It is usually, delivered in a classroom environment, with three separate sessions spread over a two-week period.
Coronavirus led to the suspension of classroom delivery of courses, which meant people could not begin programmes, although providers were granted permission to deliver a small number of online courses to enable people part way through their course to complete it.
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: ”In giving the go-ahead for online provision, on a temporary basis, we are confident people will be able to receive the same benefits from the scheme without having to travel and spend time in confined spaces. We are in discussion with providers to help ensure services remain accessible for people.
“We will continue to keep the scheme under review as we consider our ongoing response to Covid-19.”