Inspection reveals partial improvement in Betsi Cadwaladr vascular services

Betsi Cadwaladr – A recent report indicates that NHS vascular services in north Wales are showing signs of improvement. In March 2022, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) categorized the service as “requiring significant improvement” due to serious concerns about patient safety.

Subsequent inspection reveals a positive trend in the quality of care, yet further improvement is still necessary.

Betsi Cadwaladr

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board acknowledges the need for additional improvements.

Vascular services are responsible for diagnosing and treating individuals with conditions related to arteries, veins, or circulation. These services are frequently utilized by patients with additional health concerns such as diabetes.

Issues arose when the consolidation of complex vascular services took place, transitioning from Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor and Wrexham Maelor Hospital to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in April 2019.

Following concerns raised by patients and staff regarding the newly implemented service at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, the Betsi Cadwaladr health board enlisted the Royal College of Surgeons England to conduct an investigation.

The report, released in two installments in 2021 and 2022, highlighted various risks to patient safety and concluded that in certain instances, clinicians may have been operating beyond their competency boundaries.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has downgraded its level of concern and no longer categorizes vascular services in North Wales as requiring significant improvement.

HIW’s Chief Executive, Alun Jones, expressed optimism, stating, “It is encouraging to note the improvements in several aspects of vascular services.”

“Our review revealed eleven recommendations designed to strengthen the current arrangements and drive further improvement in the service.”

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“To ensure the lasting effectiveness of the implemented improvements and processes, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board needs to establish mechanisms that guarantee long-term sustainability.”

“We urge the health board to give careful consideration to our recommendations, with the expectation that they will be integrated into the broader framework of improvement initiatives.”

Dr. Nick Lyons, Executive Medical Director of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, affirmed, “I want to assure our patients that the Health Board acknowledges the shortcomings of our vascular service, as it has not consistently met our desired standards and, in certain instances, has failed to meet patients’ expectations.”

“Despite this, today’s report emphasizes the commitment and collaborative endeavors of all those engaged in the continuous enhancement of the service for the people of North Wales. We express our appreciation to the staff, patients, and stakeholders for their invaluable contributions and unwavering dedication.”

“Being a service that does not require significant improvement should be the fundamental standard that everyone rightfully anticipates.”

“I appreciate HIW’s recognition of the significant progress achieved in addressing all nine recommendations outlined in the Royal College of Surgeon’s report from February 2022. The outcomes and experiences of individuals have notably improved.

We acknowledge that there is still more work ahead, and we are committed to collaborating on the next phase of improvement efforts.

We accept the additional recommendations put forth by HIW, aimed at ensuring sustainable and ingrained improvement.

The real challenge lies ahead, but this announcement serves as a catalyst, inspiring us to persevere in our pursuit of delivering a top-notch service that every vascular patient deserves.”

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