Following a report into patient flow, which shows that patients are suffering as a result of delays to hospital discharges, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, Plaid Cymru’s health and care spokesperson, has pointed to Welsh Government “failure to invest” in community care.
The report by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales’ (HIW) ‘National Review of Patient Flow’, published today (Thursday 7 September) states that “patients are not always receiving the care they need in a timely and appropriate manner” as a result of inefficient patient flow through the healthcare system.
Mr ap Gwynfor says that a reduction in the number of hospital beds, which has not been matched with a promised investment into care closer to home, is a “fundamental” issue.
Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said:
“Labour Welsh Government must heed the lessons from this extremely important report by HIW, and ensure further patients don’t suffer needlessly as a result of delays to movement through the health and care systems.
“The issue of slow patient flow through hospitals due to a lack of community care is not a new one. Indeed, when I was elected two years ago, I raised it then. I welcome the fact that this report gives further credence to the concerns I raised then.
“Delays to patient flow through hospitals is complex issue, but there are fundamental issues at play: Wales has seen thousands of hospital beds closed over the last two decades. Each time we’ve been told that care is better delivered closer to home and whilst that is undoubtedly true, the Labour Government has singularly failed to properly invest in that community care.
“As a consequence of the lack of investment into that care ‘closer to home’, we are overly dependent on an army of voluntary carers. In turn, many of these carers are woefully under supported.
“Thanks to Plaid Cymru and our Co-operation Agreement, the Welsh Government is now seriously looking at closer working between health and social care, but this work needs to happen sooner rather than later. This report by the HIW will hopefully put some rocket fuel into this work so that we can see the vast improvements that are so desperately needed.”