Second case of ‘under-reporting’ coronavirus deaths as 31 added in west Wales

Coronavirus. Picture: US Department if State

Another 31 coronavirus deaths have been added to the toral by Public Health Wales after a second case where a health board “underreported” the numbers who had died.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board reported 84 deaths in the north Wales area last Thursday, but said they had happened over a whole month and had not been reported.

Today a total of 31 coronavirus deaths in Hywel Dda Health Board in the west of Wales were added to the total.

Speaking at the Welsh Government’s daily press conference on Wednesday, Vaughan Gething described it as a “material underreporting issue”.

“We’re absolutely clear now, that all the reporting systems are consistent, everyone is going to use the same reporting method,” he said.

“And that should then mean that from the figures today and tomorrow will be fully up to date.

“And what I think is really important is it doesn’t change our understanding of the disease profile across Wales.

“But there are certainly lessons to learn as we progress through this about each part of our system, share information with each other, and then the confidence of public have but also ministers have in making choices and providing information to the public.”

1,000 deaths

Wales’ Chief Medical Officer said the original failure to report daily coronavirus death figures had been caused because Betsi Cadwaladr used a different reporting system to one set-up for the Welsh NHS.

Hospitals are supposed to use a Covid-19 mortality surveillance e-form but it was not implemented across all health boards.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) registered 1,017 coronavirus deaths by 17 April – higher than Public Health Wales figures for the same period.

That is because the ONS includes deaths at home, in care homes and in hospices, not just hospitals.

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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

You do wonder about the health service in Wales. How many quango’s and committees look at it, supervise it, report and make recommendations on it God only knows. The Cardiff Labour elite are obsessed with it (it’s the last big gravy train for them and their ‘big union’ buddies) and the performance is poor against the rest of the UK (especially England and it receives more money per capita than England) and this is typified by Betsi Cadwaladr. Special Measures for 5 years, can’t fill in the right form, etc etc.
Time for a change.

Dr D Davies
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Dr D Davies

This is at best incompetent. A major culling of tiers of management is needed. Fewer and more efficient. The monetary saving should be allocated to front line clinical staff.

HuwDavies
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HuwDavies

Too many bureaucrats, shortages of relevant professional skills = recipe for serial underperformance. Does the man at the top of this “tree” have any depth of relevant skill or does he come from a grey suited management background ? He sure sounds like one.

Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

Incredible that Health Boards can’t just report in the way required in a pandemic! Now that the true figures have come to light, will Public Health Wales be adjusting their graphs retrospectively? That is distributing these figures to the actual days when they should have been reported? This is the only way that we can all see the true pattern of the pandemic. This is important to help identify possible causes and effects – and compare the spread in different parts of Wales.

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

I don’t understand why Public Health Wales are not including deaths in locations other than hospitals in their mortality stats. It sounds do-able, even if it necessitates a delay of a few days.

Ordinary Guy
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Ordinary Guy

What amazes me is why, for a population of 3.5 million, less than half of London we require 7 health boards. Surely the costs of the chief executives, admin staff and all the other hangers on before one approaches actual health care is the real scandal here? Incompetence is inbred in the organisations, clearly shown by the fact they can’t compile a straight forward report.
is it time for the Cardiff elite to bite the bullet and accept a major reorganisation of the healthcare service for all of Wales is required as a matter of extreme urgency?

Phil Jones
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Phil Jones

Good point. Seven health boards and four police forces? Is it worth looking at how Scotland and Ireland do it? I’m asking because I don’t know – except that Scotland has one police force and there are probably different views as to whether that has been a success