Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the NHS in Wales worked incredibly hard to keep the virus out of our hospitals and to protect people who were being cared for in challenging circumstances. Despite rigorous control procedures, but due to the high transmissibility of the virus, there were incidents of nosocomial (hospital acquired) COVID-19 infections and sadly, in some cases, people came to harm or died.
When incidents like this happen it is important that NHS Wales is open with people and their relatives and that clinical teams undertake investigations to determine what happened, what can be learned and what needs to happen next to minimise the likelihood of the incident happening to anyone else. It is important that they share outcomes and learning from these investigations, so care continually improves.
In January last year I agreed to provide £4.54m pa, over two years to support health boards, trusts and the NHS Wales Delivery Unit to carry out an important and complex programme of investigation into cases of hospital-acquired Covid-19.
The work has supported NHS Wales organisations to undertake their duty to investigate patient safety incidents of suspected hospital-acquired COVID-19 in a proportionate way, whilst reflecting the challenge of the high numbers recorded in the pandemic.
I am pleased to report the investigation work is progressing well and that today (29 March) the NHS Wales Delivery Unit has published its interim national learning report (external link).
I have been clear that learning from investigations is paramount, and I welcome this interim report. I am committed to ensuring this learning will lead to meaningful change and improvements in the quality and safety of patient care.
The extent of the work that still lies ahead should not be underestimated. The work will continue to identify learning in its second year, with a view to publishing a final full learning report in Spring 2024.
I am grateful to the individuals and organisations across the NHS in Wales for their engagement with and continued commitment to this challenging work, and I am grateful to the families who have lost loved ones for their patience while we work hard to find answers for them.
Additionally, work will continue to identify and explore new and emerging topics.