Two ‘damning’ reports on Welsh hospitals in the north and south of Wales leaked to the press
A hospital and a health board in the north and south Wales have been the subject of two “damning” reports by the Royal College of Physicians.
Staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital have been dubbed some of the “unhappiest” ever seen in a report on the hospital.
Meanwhile, doctors at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Welsh health board have been described as being “scared to come to work” due to serious concerns over patient safety.
Doctors at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board told the Royal College of Physicians during a virtual staff meeting in August that they “felt ignored” by management when they raised concerns.
The Guardian, which has seen the report, quoted from it the words of Andrew Goddard, the RCP president, who said: “During our virtual visit some trainees told us that they were scared to come to work, in case they lose their GMC [General Medical Council] number.
“In my eight years at the Royal College of Physicians I’ve visited hundreds of different hospitals – and I had never heard that before.”
In the report on a visit to Wrexham Maelor Hospital in May, Andrew Goddard said that investment from the heavily criticised Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board or the Labour Government was “desperately needed”.
“Our virtual visit to Wrexham in May 2021 introduced me to the unhappiest group of consultants I’ve ever spoken to in my career, bar one,” he said, in comments seen by ITV.
“We heard about a perfect storm of a collapsing estate, ineffectual or non-existent IT, and staff shortages.”
Responding to the findings of the report on , Dr James Calvert, medical director at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said that it was important to remember that the visit happened during the Covid-19 pandemic “which has significantly disrupted the delivery of our health services”.
“We were already aware of all the concerns outlined in the report and we were working on solutions to the issues raised and we are continuing to do so,” he said.
“We are continuing to address staff shortages, which affect our health board as well as other NHS organisations across Wales and the UK.
“The health board has taken the findings of the Royal College of Physicians report very seriously.”
Dr Nick Lyons, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said that Covid-19 has affected everyone working in the health service, “and we need to ensure that colleagues are supported to do their jobs to the best of their ability”.
“I really do recognise the stress, pressure and workload our clinicians are grappling with,” he said.
“Working with our clinical teams, we can make real progress in addressing the concerns they have raised.
“We have a good foundation on which to build, as identified in the report, including the good teaching experience of junior doctors and some of the innovation that has taken place during the pandemic.”
The Welsh Government said the health board has taken the report “extremely seriously” and has drawn up action plans to address the recommendations.
A spokesperson said: “We recognise the huge pressures NHS staff have been under for a sustained period of time and it is vital any concerns over their wellbeing and morale are addressed.
“The health board is working closely with the college advisors and are committed to progressing these actions.”
Welsh Conservative shadow health minister, Russell George MS said: “Hours after a damning report on staff morale and quality of care for patients at the Grange Hospital in South East Wales, the Labour Government is hit with another, this time in the North of the country at Wrexham Maelor.
“Betsi Cadwaladr has been besieged by problems over the past decade, and Labour’s recruitment and retention of frontline staff has been nothing short of atrocious, which is having a devastating impact on our ability to cope with current demand and treat patients.
“This latest report highlights a historical lack of investment in the estate, facilities, IT and the workforce, and Labour ministers can’t use the pandemic as a cover for this disaster.
“Two decades of mismanagement, cuts to services and centralisation agendas have left our NHS in crisis, putting even more pressure on hardworking NHS staff and those who rely on them.
“Labour ministers must take responsibility and act accordingly.”
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