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Concerns about hospital safety after spot checks

The Western Mail reports that urgent calls have today been made for the NHS to improve frontline staffing levels after more than half of dignity spot-checks in Wales’ hospitals raised concerns about patient safety.

The paper says that opposition parties, patient safety groups and leading medical organisations have all said that low staffing levels on hospital wards, particularly at night, is putting patients at risk:

Their comments follow a revelation from Health Minister Lesley Griffiths that seven out of 12 dignity spot-checks by watchdog Healthcare Inspectorate Wales highlighted concerns about staffing levels and the impact on patient safety.

In response to a written question by Plaid Cymru, Ms Griffiths said: “Since the ‘Dignity and Essential Care inspections’ programme began in November 2011, 12 inspections have been undertaken. Seven of the 12 inspections have highlighted concerns in relation to safe staffing levels.

“Concerns highlighted have included reference to overall staffing numbers during certain shifts and the organisation of staff during shifts which impacted on the care and support patients have received.”

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “High quality, compassionate and dignified patient care is very much reliant on staffing levels on hospital wards. Doctors and nurses work very hard under very difficult circumstances but when they are stretched to their limits, this is when patients feel the consequences of a health system that has been run into the ground.

“While I accept that the report does conclude by saying that, generally, care is being provided in a way that is appropriate and compassionate, the Health Minister and her senior managers must never be complacent about the state of the NHS in Wales.

“Statistics, waiting times and targets already paint a very grim picture of our NHS. I am really concerned that we are close to breaking point and it will be patients who will suffer.”

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