Welsh Death Hospital Inquiry Not Needed

The Head Of The Royal College Of Nursing In Wales Has Argued An Inquiry Into Hospital Death Rates Is Not Needed

25.02.2014

Tina Donnelly, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales' director, has argued an inquiry into higher than expected death rates at hospitals across the nation is not needed.

The news comes after Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England's medical director, said that the number of people who were reported to have died at hospitals in Wales in 2013 was "worrying".

Data showed 11 out of 17 district medical facilities in the country had higher than expected death rates, reports the BBC.

While Sir Bruce did not immediately call for an inquiry, he stated there was not sufficient information to form a view on who was to blame, or whether it was an anomaly, but Ms Donnelly believes an investigation is not needed.

"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," Ms Donnelly told the BBC.

Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford also claimed there was no need to investigate high mortality rates and that any arguments to the contrary were part of the Conservative party's attempts to "drag the Welsh NHS through the mud".

The Welsh NHS has been hit by a number of unpopular austerity measures in recent years.

A report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last year showed that £1.5 billion in cuts would be made by 2017 because of the state of public finances in the nation.

Wales has a higher average age than other parts of the UK, but does not have as strong as an economy as other regions and this has led it to develop a funding issue in some public sector industries - including the police and NHS.

But while the Welsh Conservatives and Liberal Democrats argue this is due to mismanagement, Welsh Labour claims it is the result of cuts in funding from the central UK government which were outlined as part of the coalition's spending review.

Expert Opinion
There is never an excuse for patient safety to be compromised and the recent figures highlight the importance of ensuring it is at the very top of every health professional’s agenda. Immediate steps must be taken to investigate what is causing the higher-than-expected death rates and, where possible, make improvements to services to improve the standard of support that patients receive.

“The NHS carries out a great service for our country and the majority of staff work tremendously hard to care for their patients. However, sadly we see first-hand that all too often there are problems with treatment and care which can lead to serious injury and, in some cases, the unnecessary deaths of patients.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner