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Betsi area had 60% of Welsh hospital safety breach deaths; TORIES SAY FIGURES 'WORRYING READING FOR PATIENTS'.

Byline: JEZ HEMMING Daily Post Reporter

SIX in 10 deaths reported in Wales due to safety breaches took place in the North Wales health board area, new Welsh Government figures have revealed.

Over the past 12 months 80 patient safety issues that resulted in deaths at Welsh hospitals were recorded by Welsh health boards, 48 (60%) of them by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.

Of the 378 incidents reported that caused serious harm in Wales, 215 of them (57%) took place within the same area.

But the board says although the reports were listed in a particular month it does not mean that is the period when the incident occurred due to potential delays in uploading the figures to the National Reporting and Learning System.

Betsi Cadwaladr UHB has been in special measures, the highest form of Welsh Government intervention, since June 2015. Initially it was meant to last for two years but under-fire Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething recently admitted he couldn't put a date on it being released from governmental oversight.

The Conservatives' Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns said the latest figures reflected the pressure on doctors in "understaffed hospitals".

She added: "The priority across the NHS is to keep patients safe and out of risk of unnecessary harm. People accessing health care under the Welsh NHS have enough to worry about at the moment, especially in North Wales, so these figures must make for worrying reading for patients.

"My thoughts also go out to the families of the people listed in today's figures."

The figures for May this year show there were 23 reports of deaths due to safety issues in Wales, 10 of those reported by Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, although the health board said there was a delay in uploading the figures and there were in fact no patient safety issues resulting in death in May this year.

Betsi Cadwaladr, the largest in Wales covering 22% of the population, reported 27,398 safety incidents in the 12 months up to the end of May this year - equating to 75 reports per day.

However more than 90% of those were recorded as "no harm" or "low harm" incidents. Around 9.5% of all reports (2,611) led to "medium harm, serious harm or death".

Responding to the latest figures a spokeswoman for Betsi Cadwaladr said: "We would like to reassure patients that the number of deaths reported in May 2019 reflect a delay in uploading cases to the National Reporting and Learning System. In reality there were no deaths as a result of serious untoward incidents in May.

"The figures show the number of incidents reported occurred sometime prior to this period - these have all been investigated, closed and uploaded to the NRLS system.

"Patient safety and the reduction of harm is paramount to the organisation and there is always ongoing work to improve the care we provide to our patients."

The board posted a deficit of PS42m last year but chief executive Gary Doherty said it has made advances in out of hours infection control, GP provision and maternity services - the latter two disciplines being taken out of special measures. He pledged to wipe out the deficit within five years.

In April this year it emerged patients attending Emergency Departments in North Wales hospitals faced on average a seven-hour wait for treatment.
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 27, 2019
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