Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Public Health Service Ombudsman for Wales speaks out about ‘inadequate’ weekend care in Welsh hospitals

In England there has been fierce debate for months between doctors and the embattled Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt about figures suggesting higher weekend mortality rates.

Now, in Wales, Public Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), Nick Bennett has spoken out about ‘inadequate’ out-of hours care and ‘significant clinical failings in these cases’.

He said:

This report emphasises the need for more effective and equitable clinical care to be provided seven days a week with greater consultant supervision, as well as the requirement for health boards to ensure their staff are adhering to the guidelines that are already established and accepted as good practice.’

He was also keen to stress that past complaints that have come before his office highlight the need for junior staff to be aware of the need to escalate their concerns to senior staff and to ensure that there are more routine visits to wards at Consultant level 7 days a week. In addition there was criticism of failure to follow established guidelines.

While the spirit of the report is noted by the Welsh Government, Health Minister Mark Drakeford did point out that the cases which had fed into its findings were limited with only 12 in total and that was a small proportion in total compared with the number of hospital admissions.

However, the PHSO said:

I would like to use this opportunity to remind stakeholders of my office’s independence and impartiality, and that the sole purpose of this report is to ensure that lessons are learned from the complaints I have considered.

An independent review would confirm any emerging patterns or inconsistencies in quality of care.’

If you or a member of your family have been affected by the issues raised in this article, contact a member of our Clinical Negligence Team on 0800 316 8892 who will be pleased to assist you.