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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 08:30 GMT
NHS uncovers hospital 'failings'
Generic picture of surgical equipment

Hospital services in Powys should be transferred to other areas as soon as possible because of failings in patient care, a report recommends.

An NHS investigation into 10 community hospitals in the county revealed they were unable to meet standards.

The NHS Clinical Governance Support and Development Unit (CGSDU) looked at patient safety and found a "series of serious incidents".

The Local Health Board said the report was "thorough, albeit hard hitting".

The first phase of the CGSDU's report was published last July and found issue with Powys LHB's management.

Phase two, which started last September, dealt with patient safety.

In the interests of clinical governance and patient safety, all the acute clinical services in an individual community hospital should be provided by a single NHS trust
The CGSDU report

In its findings, the CGSDU said: "We strongly recommend that arrangements are made for clinical in-patient services for acutely ill patients, surgical patients, age care consultant patients, and patients transferred from district general hospitals to community hospitals in Powys, to be provided by NHS trusts as soon as possible.

"In the interests of clinical governance and patient safety, all the acute clinical services in an individual community hospital should be provided by a single NHS trust."

The report listed a "series of serious incidents" relating to patient safety in community hospitals and at two minor injuries units (MIU) at Newtown and Builth Wells.

It added: "Overall, we found the provision of safe services for patients in community hospitals to be compromised.

"Community hospitals have made a huge contribution to the health and welfare of the people of Powys during the last century, and in some cases the century before that.

"But they now find themselves unable to meet the standards that people rightly expect from a modern health care service."

Builth Wells hospital (picture: Builth and Llanwrtyd Medical Practice)
All Powys hospitals including Builth Wells were looked at

The CGSDU's recommends that three intermediate care units and rehabilitation and social care centres should be set up.

More seriously ill patients should still receive care at neighbouring district general hospitals though.

Powys LHB's chairman Chris Mann said the report was "fair and thorough, albeit hard hitting". He added: "Having this external perspective from such a highly experienced and skilled review team, puts the board in a much better position to focus on what needs doing - immediately and in the medium term - and to drive forward necessary reforms.

"What the report tells us in a nutshell is that a range of services still need to be provided in Powys, but that some of these services need to be provided in a different way and, indeed, some of them will have to be provided by other NHS organisations."

Health Minister Edwina Hart has ordered the LHB to take "immediate action" to ensure services are safe.

An assembly government spokesman said: "The minister is very concerned with the patient safety issues highlighted in the report and has asked the LHB to take immediate action to ensure that services in Powys are made safe.

"Patient safety must be our top priority."

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