WELSH Conservatives have continually called for an inquiry into the standard of care in the Welsh NHS, similar to the inquiry undertaken by Sir Bruce Keogh in England.
Now the Labour MP, Ann Clwyd, has backed calls for an inquiry in her evidence to the National Assembly’s Health Committee.
This is not a party political issue. It is about addressing the real concerns of patients and their families and making sure patient safety is not compromised in the future.
There has been no shortage of warning signs. Over the year several organisations such as the Royal College of Surgeons and Wales Audit Office have produced reports which highlight failings at several health boards in Wales.
These failings include cancelled or delayed operations and unsustainable methods employed to achieve financial savings targets, which have both seriously compromised patient care.
The Royal College of Surgeons published a report in July last year following findings that 152 patients have died in the last five years while waiting for cardiac surgery in Cardiff or Swansea.
The Royal College of Surgeons said that conditions had reached dangerous levels at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff with patients dying regularly whilst waiting for heart operations.
Ann Clwyd MP said at that time that the catastrophic failings were the equivalent of the scandal at Mid Staffs.
The Francis Report into events at Mid Staffs clearly demonstrated that complacency is not an option. Shocking treatment and standards of care were allowed to continue for years, until politicians stepped in and took action.
Unless the Welsh Government takes action they could have an even bigger problem on their hands in a few years’ time. Ignoring issues now could lead to a huge cost in future if a major incident were to occur.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has claimed that a Keogh inquiry would cost about a million pounds to undertake. I believe it is unacceptable to deny a thorough inquiry into the NHS in Wales due to cost.
Communities the length and breadth of Wales deserve to have confidence that their relatives are getting the very best quality of care possible.
Talking about what goes wrong in the NHS is the first step to putting it right.