Welsh NHS A&E Uncertainty 'Must End'

Emergency Care In Wales Is Suffering Due To Fear Of Closure Of A&E Units

25.04.2014

A new report from the Public Accounts Committee has concluded that the threat of closure across Welsh hospitals is causing uncertainty.

According to the study, which followed on from an auditor general's report that was published last year, hospitals in Wales are struggling to recruit new staff and keep existing doctors and nurses in their current posts because of the fear of closure.

Overall, A&E services in Wales are believed to be declining in quality and the Public Accounts Committee wants this to improve, reports the BBC.

The Welsh Government, which is in charge of healthcare in Wales, said it will respond to the report once it has had time to go over its findings in detail.

Currently, Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli and Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant are slated to have their A&E units downgraded, but public opposition has left these plans in limbo.

Darren Millar, committee chairman and Conservative MP, said: "The pressures facing the delivery of unscheduled care services in Wales are complex.

"While there has been an effort by those working within NHS Wales to drive forward improvement, we are yet to see the major step change in performance that the people of Wales need.

"The committee concludes that radical solutions are required to address the challenges faced by our health services."
Recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee included increasing flu vaccinations for NHS staff and offering more GP services within hospitals so that waiting times are reduced at A&E departments.

Wales' NHS has been struggling for a number of years due to multiple factors, including lower tax revenues than England, an ageing population and government budget cuts.

However, a recent report found that healthcare in the nation was improving and was approaching levels seen across the border in England.

NHS healthcare was devolved to Wales in 1999 and has been under the remit of the Cardiff-based Senedd ever since.

Expert Opinion
The ultimate aim of the NHS should be to ensure that patients get top quality care across every department, as this would not only reduce repeat visits to hospitals but also cut the number of cases which A&Es need to deal with on a daily basis.

“In a growing and ageing population more and more people are relying on casualty departments. Action is needed to cope with this demand and ensure staff at all levels have the time and resources needed to provide patients with the safe, quality care they deserve.

“We eagerly anticipate the response from the Welsh Government in how they propose to tackle this matter and hope that any reforms to the current system have patient safety as its core priority, rather than budgets.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner