NHS neglect: Abertawe health board chiefs apologise

Princess of Wales Hospital
Image caption The elderly woman's described her treatment at the Princess of Wales hospital

Health board chiefs have apologised to patients and families who say they received poor care.

It comes a day after BBC Wales revealed claims an elderly patient suffered serious neglect at hospitals in Bridgend and Neath.

"It has become increasingly clear some patients have not received the standard of care which is expected of us," said Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board.

More staff and re-training were coming in at Princess of Wales, Bridgend.

A BBC Wales investigation found an elderly patient was allegedly neglected and later died in one of its hospitals.

There was a call for an inquiry after details of how the woman was treated at the Princess of Wales, Bridgend was revealed.

The woman's family told BBC Wales about the treatment she received at the Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot hospitals when she was admitted three times between August and November 2012, when she died.

In one instance, the family say her prosthetic leg was left on at night for two weeks, leaving her screaming and in pain, despite her family explaining how it should be removed and her leg treated.

They said their relative's treatment in hospital was "absolutely appalling".

Before her death in the Princess of Wales last November, the family said they were told her medication was being stopped as she was dying of pneumonia.

However, a post mortem examination later found she died of a heart attack.

Two nurses from Princess of Wales Hospital have been arrested on suspicion of the falsification of records in the last two months. Both have been suspended from duty.

When asked if there was a connection between these arrests and the patient's case, the health board said it could not comment on police investigations.

The health board had already apologised, but on Friday chairman Andrew Davies and chief executive Paul Roberts issued a fuller statement.

They said they were determined to do better for patients "and to be open about what we are doing".

It said a senior team had been set up in May to investigate concerns about some of the care at the Princess of Wales Hospital and bring about urgent changes.

"While we are confident that the majority of patients have a positive experience at the hospital, it has become increasingly clear that some patients have not received the standard of care which is expected of us," the statement said.

'Acted swiftly'

"This situation is plainly not acceptable, and we are doing something about it."

The executives said they wanted to apologise to patients and their families who have received poor care.

Concerns included:

  • Higher than expected mortality rates in some areas
  • Poorer outcomes for trauma patients
  • A number of critical ombudsman reports, coroner verdicts and complaints, which included examples of poor care towards older patients.

They said they have "acted swiftly" to try to change things.

A chief nurse has been appointed at the Princess of Wales, and interviews are to be held for 30 nursing posts. The move will allow three registered nurses on every medical ward at night.

The board is also piloting the role of a ward administrator at the hospital, to ease the paperwork burden of sisters and allow them to spend more time with patients.

In addition, the chairman and chief executive said there has been a "huge emphasis" placed on retraining nurses in areas like diabetes care.

Staff are also being offered additional training in accountability and the importance of maintaining records.

In response to the case revealed on Thursday, Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, demanded an inquiry into NHS care standards like the Keogh Review which has put 11 health trusts in England in special measures.

He said mortality rates were spiking at unacceptable levels in some Welsh hospital.

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