'Health Boards Are Going to Have to Work Harder' Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Has Called for Cross-Party Co-Operation in the Face of Concerns about Patient Safety and the Dire Financial Climate

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

'Health Boards Are Going to Have to Work Harder' Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Has Called for Cross-Party Co-Operation in the Face of Concerns about Patient Safety and the Dire Financial Climate


EARLIER this month, Welsh Liberal Democrat research uncovered how some health boards have been exposing patients to sub-optimal quality of care and safety.

The health boards' risk assessments made for very uncomfortable reading for many patients all across Wales.

They revealed how it was "almost certain" none of the four hospitals in West Wales could provide "recommended services" for patients presenting with heart attacks.

In our capital city, the risk assessments revealed there are insufficient junior doctors to support service provision and that could "compromise patient safety".

In Swansea, an "insufficient mix of ward-based staff may impact negatively on patient safety through a failure to appropriately monitor, treat or discharge".

This is not our analysis. This is the health boards stating what they see as the biggest risks in their hospitals.

As an elected AM, I have a responsibility to let people know what really is going on in our NHS. I was accused by the health minister of scaremongering and causing concern to patients.

With this information before me and with countless and heart-breaking examples of patient harm and poor quality of care, I compared some aspects of the NHS to a game of Russian roulette.

When you have some parts of Wales where the recommended and potentially life-saving treatment of stroke is only provided during office hours, I feel that this is justified.

Of course, this made the headlines. However, I didn't come into politics to make statements like that for quick headlines in the media.

When you have constituents and people across Wales writing to you on a weekly basis about the standard of their NHS treatment, it is your duty to make sure the government knows about it - and does something about it.

It is clear that many health boards have significant issues to overcome, and while some progress is being made, it is wholly unacceptable that patients are faced with "high" and "extreme" risks when they are treated. …

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'Health Boards Are Going to Have to Work Harder' Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Has Called for Cross-Party Co-Operation in the Face of Concerns about Patient Safety and the Dire Financial Climate
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