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RCS statement on Cardiff and Vale report

26 Jul 2013

On 12 April 2013, the Royal College of Surgeons’ (RCS) Professional Affairs Board (PAB) in Wales met with clinical leads of the surgical departments that form part of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB).

This was a routine visit - we were not at CVUHB to investigate their surgical services. Our commitment to high-quality patient care means that we often visit hospitals to understand how their surgical teams are working; this enables surgeons and other clinicians to share their knowledge and expertise.

The PAB’s visit involved meetings with clinical leads and other interested consultants from each of the nine surgical specialties based in Cardiff, in order to find out more about the surgical services in the hospital and to hear the views of surgeons about these services.

During the meeting with the clinical leads, serious concerns around patient care and service delivery were, however, identified. A wide range of concerns were raised; the most prevalent related to the inability to admit patients for elective surgery. The main reason for this is the apparent unconstrained admission of emergency patients and the inability to effectively discharge patients. Following the visit the PAB raised the findings with the health board, alerted the Welsh Government and the Health Inspectorate Wales, and produced a report.

The hospital has now produced an action plan to address the patient safety concerns that were identified. At the moment it is too early to tell whether the action plan will address our concerns. However, we have agreed that the Royal College of Surgeons’ PAB would revisit Cardiff and Vale Health Board in September 2013 to assess what progress has been made.

Notes to the editors

In April the RCS Professional Affairs Board in Wales visited surgical colleagues working under Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. This was a routine meeting that the Board holds with its members to understand their work and to share expertise. During the course of the meeting a number of significant issues, primarily about access to services, were raised, and the Professional Affairs Board took responsibility for outlining their concerns in this report. The College then immediately sent it to the Health Board, the Welsh Government, and Health Inspectorate Wales. The Board and the Government have accepted the views. 

The Health Board recently produced an action plan although it is still too early to tell whether the action plan will address all of our concerns. Many of the issues in our report will need thorough verification and further data and evidence will need to be sought. It will also need to be reviewed by Health Inspectorate Wales and we encourage the regulator to urgently investigate surgical and other services at the sites to assure patients about their quality and most importantly their safety.

The College is committed to supporting Health Inspectorate Wales by providing specialist support to urgently address the issues raised in our report. The early resolution of concerns is of prime importance in driving improvement and ensuring safe patient care. In light of this, we have also already agreed that the group would revisit Cardiff and Vale UHB in September 2013 to monitor its progress.

For more information, please contact the RCS press office on:

  • 020 7869 6047/ 6052
  • Out-of hours: 07966 486 832
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808

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