Roof is­sues ‘re­sulted in ma­ter­nity short­ages’

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - MARK SMITH [email protected]­line.co.uk

UN­FORE­SEEN com­pli­ca­tions with a hos­pi­tal’s roof put an in­tense strain on ma­ter­nity ser­vices in Cwm Taf Univer­sity Health Board, it has been re­vealed.

Since 2013 plans have been in place to re­move con­sul­tant-led mid­wifery ser­vices, as well as neona­tal and in­pa­tient pae­di­atrics, from the Royal Glam­or­gan Hos­pi­tal in Llantrisant.

In turn Prince Charles Hos­pi­tal in Merthyr Tyd­fil would be up­graded and house all of these key ser­vices on be­half of all pa­tients in the health board.

The changes means that ba­bies who are se­verely pre­ma­ture or ill and need doc­tor-led care will no longer be de­liv­ered at the Royal Glam­or­gan and will in­stead be sent to Prince Charles in Merthyr or the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff.

Fol­low­ing ap­proval from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment for new cap­i­tal in­vest­ment, staff were due to move to the newly-re­fur­bished Prince Charles site this au­tumn.

But, ac­cord­ing to new pa­pers pub­lished by Cwm Taf, ma­jor is­sues with the roof at Prince Charles led to de­lays in the trans­fer of em­ploy­ees – and caused short­ages in ma­ter­nity as a re­sult.

The pa­pers state: “It was al­ways known that a num­ber of mid­wifery staff would move to neigh­bour­ing ma­ter­nity units at the time of the trans­fer due to trav­el­ling con­straints.

“The de­lay in the move has meant that a num­ber of staff, very un­der­stand­ably, needed to be re­leased to their new em­ploy­ers in ad­vance of the move.

“This has put ad­di­tional pres­sure on the ma­ter­nity ser­vice in Cwm Taf at a time when there was al­ready a high de­gree of uncer­tainty as­so­ci­ated with the ser­vice move and the need to fol­low new ways of work­ing.

“The acute staff short­ages have had a ma­jor im­pact on the abil­ity to re­lease staff for train­ing, su­per­vi­sion and morale – all of which do have an im­pact on the qual­ity of care and which must be ad­dressed.”

Cwm Taf Univer­sity Health Board is cur­rently car­ry­ing out a re­view into the safety of its ma­ter­nity ser­vices be­tween Jan­uary 1, 2016, and Septem­ber 2018.

It fol­lowed a con­cern among se­nior man­agers over an ap­par­ent un­der­re­port­ing of in­ci­dents of po­ten­tial harm.

Just 13 se­ri­ous in­ci­dent re­ports were high­lighted to the Welsh Gov­ern­ment dur­ing that time pe­riod – but fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion it was found that the to­tal should have been 43.

Of those 43 in­ci­dents 20 were recorded as still­births and six were of ba­bies dy­ing shortly after birth.

The board pa­pers added: “It is clear from the re­view process to date that there has been an un­der­re­port­ing of se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in the ma­ter­nity ser­vice. This is un­ac­cept­able.”

Cwm Taf UHB said it was mid­way through re­view­ing each of the 43 in­ci­dents and has of­fered “re­dress” to pa­tients in­volved in five of the cases.

There are cur­rently 21 cases still out­stand­ing where the out­comes are yet to be con­firmed.

The health board said its in­ter­nal re­port is likely to be pub­lished in April 2019.

Health Sec­re­tary Vaughan Gething has also com­mis­sioned an ex­ter­nal re­view to be car­ried out with the help of the Royal Col­lege of Ob­ste­tri­cians and Gy­nae­col­o­gists and the Royal Col­lege of Mid­wives.

Since the un­der-re­port­ing came to light the health board has taken ac­tion to strengthen its work­force in­clud­ing:

Ap­point­ing an ad­di­tional mid­dle-grade doc­tor;

Ad­ver­tis­ing for ad­di­tional med­i­cal staff in­clud­ing con­sul­tants;

Ap­point­ing a con­sul­tant mid­wife;

Re­cruit­ing 15 mid­wives who will be join­ing the ser­vice over the next few weeks; and;

Get­ting se­nior mid­wife sup­port from neigh­bour­ing health boards to sup­port over­all staffing lev­els.

MATTHEW HORWOOD

Prince Charles Hos­pi­tal in Merthyr Tyd­fil

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