Reacting to the reports issued on the maternity department in Cwm Taf University Health Board, Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said: “This report is devastating reading for everyone that believes in a strong NHS. Mothers have been getting a service that is way below par for many years and now the services have been put into ‘special measures.’
“This report shows that for many mothers, their experience of giving birth has been awful. Mothers have had their legitimate fears brushed aside, ignored and, in some cases, being laughed at when raising important matters about their care. In some cases where a baby has died, no bereavement counselling was offered to the parents in question.
“The same has been experienced by staff; the vast majority of whom are doing their utmost to hold a creaking service together in the face of unacceptable pressure and demand, with too little support. Experienced staff are telling me that things are worse now than they have ever been and that colleagues are voting with their feet by leaving the NHS as they cannot cope with the situation any longer.
“It is also clear that matters have been serious within the Health Board for many years but they have been underplayed or even hidden. For example, a suppressed report from a consultant midwife, completed last year, was not shared and the review found that there had been 67 stillbirths not properly reported by the Health Board going back to 2010. The hidden report was a missed opportunity to put things right.
“From speaking with constituents and staff, I suspect the problems within the health board are not confined to the maternity department. From what I have heard, the issues go much wider and the review does point to problems within the ‘culture’ of the organisation in terms of complaints. There should be a further, full investigation as part of a wholescale review of all of Cwm Taf’s departments.”
She added: “The Labour Government need to accept their fair share of responsibility for the crisis that has developed in Cwm Taf University Health Board. They have failed to listen to the concerns of patients and they have failed to listen to the concerns of staff who have warned of problems for many years.
“The workforce planning from Labour Government has been abject over many years, leading to many of the chronic staff shortages we have today and have had for years.
“Instead of pursuing the centralisation agenda that removes consultant-led services from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, which has had a detrimental impact on staff morale, the Labour Government should have focused on tackling the recruitment crisis at the heart of many of the problems within our cherished NHS. Recruiting extra doctors and nurses was how Plaid Cymru proposed to solve some of the problems in the NHS and we have been pushing our plans on this for many years but Labour would not listen to us.
“People in the Rhondda and beyond will not forget or forgive Labour AMs for hollowing out the Royal Glamorgan hospital and causing pressures in other hospitals burdened with extra work.”
The Royal College of Maternity Services report into Maternity Services can be found here and the report on maternity services from the patients’ perspective can be found here. The previously unseen report from a consultant midwife into maternity services can be found through this webpage.
Helplines have been made available to all those who have been affected by this:
- Sands bereavement support volunteers are providing emotional support to parents and partners attending the meeting with the Cwm Taf Health Board today, and anyone affected by the issues raised by the review can contact their helpline on 0808 164 3332.
Full details of Sands’ bereavement support services.
- The Health Board’s Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) can be contacted for further information or personal advice. The team is available from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted via telephone on 01685 724468 for Prince Charles Hospital or 01443 443039 for Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Their email address is: [email protected]
- The Community Health Council (CHC) is able to provide you with independent advice. Their advocacy service is free and client-led, covering all aspects of NHS treatment and care. The local CHC office in Cwm Taf is contactable via email: [email protected] or via telephone: 01443 405 830 (during office hours). If you require further information please visit their website http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/899/home
- Putting things Right is a service for anyone not happy with care or treatment provided by or for the NHS in Wales http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/publicaccountability/puttingthingsright
I and my staff are also here – please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01443 681420.