Sunday, 7 September 2014

Coroner Blast for Medical Services.

John Gittins the Coroner for North Wales has criticised the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service whilst bringing back a 'narrative verdict' at the inquest into the death of Clive Turner whose treatment had been delayed due to Ambulance waiting time outside the Maelor and discharge following a misdiagnosis:
"For the second time this year John Gittins, the coroner for North Wales and Central, is to submit a report calling on the Welsh Ambulance Service and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to resolve the problem of ambulances queueing outside hospitals. 
He is also planning meet senior officials of both bodies to discuss the crisis. 
At the end of an inquest in Wrexham he also said he planned to raise concerns about other matters raised by the case."
Whilst I welcome the intervention of the Coroner in an attempt to prevent unavoidable deaths of hospital patients in the future, I don't agree the emphasis should be on the Ambulance Service and delays in transfer. The following letter was sent to the Daily Post in response:

Dear Editor,

It was sad to read about the avoidable and untimely death of Mr Clive Turner from your report from the inquest, "Coroner Blast for Medical Services" (Post, Sept 5th), and I welcome John Gittins's decision to seek a meeting with BCUHB and the Ambulance.

As a member of the North Wales Community Health Council as well as being an user of services at the Emergency Department at the Maelor perhaps you will allow me to make a few observations.

Whilst there are undoubtedly shortcomings in the management and staffing levels of the Welsh Ambulance Services, that is not the whole story by any means.

The fact that Majors, the Minor Injury Unit and GP Out of Hours are all co-located at the Emergency Department, does not help patients to 'Choose Well', or for staff to deliver the service; in fact it reminds me of the Police Precinct in the film, "Fort Apache - The Bronx."

Secondly, any investigation needs to concentrate on 'bed management' within the Maelor. I firmly believe that most delays are caused by 'bed blocking' in A&E caused by insufficient beds in the Surgical and Medical Assessment Units and the re-admission of patients discharged too soon due to the non-availability of recuperative beds in the community.

Councillor Arfon Jones.

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