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PATIENT safety and dignity could be compromised if patients continue to be treated in non-clinical areas of hospitals like patient corridors, inspectors have warned.
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) visited 27 wards at 20 NHS hospitals in 2016-17 to find out if safe, effective care was being provided.
Despite the “very real challenges” facing health boards and acute hospitals, and the complexity of how services are delivered, inspectors said most patients surveyed had positive experiences.
They said they found plenty of examples of good patient-centred care being provided by “committed staff” and noted strong leadership at management level.
But there were several areas where inspectors felt “immediate improvement” was needed. One of their main concerns was the fact some patients in A&E units needed to be cared for in corridors or other non-clinical parts of the ward due to high demands.
The report states: “A number of the improvements identified regarding the provision of dignified care related to emergency departments.
“This was due to the need for better ‘flow’ and monitoring of patients. Specifically, health boards were required to make improvements to such services to prevent the need for patients to receive care on trolleys in corridors and other areas away from designated cubicles, or assessment and treatment areas.”
Inspectors also said patient identification wristbands were not always used, which could have led to medication errors.
And they concluded some NHS staff lacked understanding of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) which meant patients’ human rights were not always upheld.
“We also found that the provision of bilingual information and the ability of patients to discuss their health needs in Welsh was inconsistent across health boards,” the report states.
In response, a Welsh Government spokesman said:“We welcome HIW’s report which shows our hardworking NHS staff are delivering safe and effective care to patients and their families.
“However, there is still room for improvement, and we expect NHS organisations to take quick and robust action to address HIW’s findings.”