Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

MP's hospital comments criticised

The Royal College of Surgeons said patients are coming to harm at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff because of increased waiting lists

Under fire health bosses have hit back at an MP who compared problems at the biggest hospital in Wales to the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Health experts set alarm bells ringing with a report which branded University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff as "dangerous".

A hard hitting Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) report revealed details of the highly worrying failings at the Cardiff hospital. Patients waiting for heart operations are "dying regularly" and some children were suffering due to delays, the report warned. It also graphically details danger areas such as patients suffering complications due to delays treating kidney stones.

It also claims children are being fitted with hearing aids due to a lack of time and resources to properly treat ear infections. And it highlights frequent gridlock in the A&E and intensive care units with patients often stacked up in corridors and ambulances.

Bosses at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board claim urgent action is already being taken to remedy the failings. They have acknowledged the situation was "unacceptable" and insisted they are looking at all options to increase cardiac surgery capacity.

But the report prompted Labour MP Ann Clwyd to call for health board chief executive Adam Cairns and all board members to step down.

Her comments came in an interview on BBC Radio 4's The World At One as she described the situation as a "Welsh Mid Staffs moment". That is a reference to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust where failings over three years to 2008 revealed up to 1,200 more deaths at Stafford Hospital than would have been expected.

Ms Clwyd went on to say: "I'm horrified because some of my constituents go to this hospital, constituents in the Cynon Valley."

She added: "The situation sounds to me very similar to the Mid Staffs situation. This is the Welsh Mid Staffs moment. It's got a high mortality rate, similar to those at some hospitals in England, it's got the highest mortality rate in Wales and so have certain other Welsh hospitals as well."

But Mr Cairns hit back, saying he was "extremely disappointed" that Ms Clwyd had chosen to make such a comparison, and clinicians and the local Community Health Council (CHC) have both issued statements dismissing her comments.

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