YOUR AM WRITES: South East Wales AM Jocelyn Davies
LIKE all Argus readers, I was shocked and disgusted by the revelations that emerged from the report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.
The Francis Report highlighted tragic and unacceptable misconduct at the trust that went on over a period of years.
Up 1,300 people died needlessly.
It is incredible to be saying such a thing in the 21st century.
One of the lessons for us in Wales is that cutbacks can cost lives.
From the outset it’s important we remember the National Health Service, in the vast majority of cases, is a force for good and its staff are motivated and caring.
Failures in the NHS should of course be addressed, and it’s up to the Welsh Government to ensure our NHS is fit for purpose and that our health workers have the best environment where they can care for patients.
Changes under Labour where health services are centralised have not satisfactorily addressed two key issues.
Both issues go hand in hand.
The first relates to the lack of beds in our hospitals.
The second issue is one Argus readers will know is of great importance to me; our ambulance service.
More than 27,000 operations were cancelled over two years across Gwent according to figures obtained by Plaid Cymru last year.
More than 6,000 were cancelled for ‘non-clinical reasons’, which includes a lack of beds.
This has a knock-on effect not just for patients waiting for operations but also those who have been brought to hospital by an ambulance.
Often, patients and ambulance crews can be waiting in corridors for considerable periods of time due to a lack of beds to be transferred to.
This leads to ambulance crews being unable to get back out on the roads as quickly as we would all like.
Much of the focus has been on the time it takes for an ambulance to get to a patient after a 999 call has been made.
This is a useful statistic but only tells part of the story.
We should also measure how long it takes for patients to be transferred from arrival via an ambulance to a bed within the hospital.
The ambulance service is perhaps the most visible of all the health services and often this leads to paramedics and technicians getting the blame for missed targets.
If there is insufficient capacity at hospitals, our ambulance coverage will continue to be under pressure.