North East Wales

'Patient safety' issues found at Ablett Unit

Ablett psychiatric unit

A hospital mental health unit has been told to make improvements after an inspection found some issues put patient safety at risk.

Health Inspectorate Wales has raised concerns at the Cynnydd and Dinas wards in the Ablett Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

The former Tawel Fan ward, which was part of the unit, shut in 2013 after reports about patients' care.

The health board responsible said it will spend £400,000 on improvements.

During its recent inspection, HIW said it saw some areas of good practice and observed the "motivated, enthusiastic, caring approach of staff on wards with good rapport between staff and patients".

But it said there were a number of issues which put patient safety at risk and that the environment within both wards was "not fit for purpose".

HIW said it was also concerned to find that some issues it identified in its previous inspection in 2014 were still apparent, despite Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board developing a clear action plan to resolve them.

The ability of staff to observe patients was one of the main issues identified by the report, claiming "the layout of the corridors and associated blind spots made effective patient observation very difficult" on Dinas ward.

On the Cynnydd ward, concerns were raised about the lack of patient engagement with the care planning process, and the location of a treatment room, being used as a pharmacy for the ward - often when staff needed access to it, they had to leave the ward - impacting on patient safety.

Andy Roach, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's director of mental health said: "We are fully aware of the long standing structural issues relating to the ward layout which have been highlighted in previous reviews.

"We have developed detailed costed plans for a significant redevelopment programme for the Ablett Unit, which were shared with the HIW inspection team.

"We have also had discussions with Welsh Government regarding progressing these plans."

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