Welsh hospital death rate inquiry not needed, says RCN chief

Tina Donnelly Tina Donnelly said legitimate concerns raised by the public must be investigated

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The head of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales says an inquiry into death rates at Welsh hospitals is not needed.

It follows the intervention of England's medical director in an email to his Welsh counterpart.

Sir Bruce Keogh said data on rates in six Welsh hospitals was worrying but not adequate to "form a view".

The Welsh government has already ruled out an inquiry, and that position has now been backed by the RCN leader.

Tina Donnelly, the RCN's director in Wales, said she was not convinced by calls for an inquiry, and argued that it did appear to be supported by published data.

Start Quote

We've got to put the patient at the centre of this, this should not be politicised. ”

End Quote Tina Donnelly Royal College of Nursing, Wales

"We've got to put the patient at the centre of this, this should not be politicised," she said.

'Duty bound'

However, speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Ms Donnelly added: "Where there are legitimate concerns raised by the public about the care that their next-of-kin - or their nearest and dearest - have had in Welsh hospitals, we are duty bound to investigate that."

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said data for England and Wales could not be compared and claimed it was a Conservative Party attempt to "drag the Welsh NHS through the mud".

Sir Bruce Keogh's intervention came amid heightened tensions between the governments in London and Cardiff Bay over the Welsh NHS.

David Cameron has repeatedly criticised the performance of the Welsh NHS and the Labour administration in Cardiff Bay during Prime Minister's Questions.

Statistics published last year by the Welsh government showed 11 out of 17 district general hospitals in Wales had higher death rates than should be expected.

But the health minister has insisted that the latest published figures show an improving picture.

'Care clinics'
Lilian Williams It is claimed Lilian Williams was seriously neglected at two hospitals before she died

The latest comments comes as the first of a series of clinics get underway to discuss concerns about poor care at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board hospitals.

Patients, relatives and carers will be able to speak to senior medics and managers at Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital later about problems they have faced.

A Welsh government review has been ordered into the alleged neglect of Lilian Williams, an elderly patient at two of the board's hospitals, who died in 2012.

Mrs Williams' son Gareth has, with others, call for the ABM board chief executive Paul Roberts to resign over the issue.

Speaking ahead of the 'concern clinic' on Monday, Mr Roberts said: "We want to meet patients, relatives and carers who have concerns about care and who feel they have not yet had the answers they need.

"We will listen and learn from them, and we hope some will also agree to work with us to make changes."

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