Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
On 3 February 2022, I issued a Written Statement highlighting the Royal College of Surgeons’ (RCS) report relating to vascular services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB). I announced in in May 2022, the extension of targeted intervention arrangements to include vascular services and provided Members with a statement on progress in August 2022.
When the RCS report was published, I expressed my disappointment and concern at its findings. I know local people and Senedd Members shared my concerns and wanted them addressed along with the future of this service.
Today, a further report, commissioned by BCUHB, has been published by the independent Vascular Quality Review Panel. The Panel was constructed to ensure a mixed membership of individuals both internal and external to BCUHB; with an independent Chair, an external vascular surgical expert, and an external vascular specialist nurse who has no previous affiliation to BCUHB and is not working within NHS Wales.
The Panel aimed to be objective in its approach to the reviews of patient notes, with an intention to reflect both identified concerns, and good practice. The Panel’s deliberation was solely in relation to the review of the forty-seven cases, and examining for each the following two questions:
- Whether the patient records contain the information expected for the patient episodes of care;
- Whether the necessary and appropriate follow up and aftercare plans were put in place.
The findings of the Vascular Quality Review Panel are mainly consistent with the Royal College of Surgeons’ review findings, although in some instances, the Panel was privy to further identified information, and members’ local knowledge provided additional context.
The report makes 27 recommendations, in relation to effectiveness of clinical pathways; clinical governance, including consent and decision-making, accountability and professional practice; person-centred care; team working, including the multi-disciplinary team; complex pain management; palliative care; education and learning; discharge, and necessary and appropriate follow up and aftercare plans.
I do not underestimate how challenging it has been for the health board to address these issues, but they must provide assurance that they are addressing, or have already addressed, the recommendations within this report as a matter of urgency. The people in North Wales must be assured that BCUHB have rectified the issues identified, improved pathways and outcomes.