THE Public Services Ombudsman for Wales’s report on the distressing case of Ellie and Chris James of Haverfordwest, whose son died in Glangwili hospital was raised in the Senedd Chamber.
Speaking in the Senedd chamber Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said: “There were a host of failings described in the ombudsman’s report, compounded by the decision to describe their son’s death as ‘stillborn’, despite the fact that he had signs of life after being born, and that in itself was as a result of several failings, including, for example, failing to monitor the heartbeat.
“This happened in Glangwili, with a young mother being taken from Withybush to Glangwili. A failure to escalate—something we were told wouldn’t be happening when the services were taken from Withybush to Glangwili, of course. I hope you’ll join with me in extending deepest sympathies to the family and the circumstances that they have suffered.
“But, in particular, I’d be interested to know what specific steps you’re taking in line with the ombudsman’s conclusions that the health board should implement the recommendations of this report now, and whether you’re taking any further direct action to ensure that, there, we have the highest standards of neonatal care in our health board area.”
Outgoing First Minister Carwyn Jones replied: “Nobody could fail to be moved by what these parents have gone through. Of course I join him in expressing my enormous sympathy for what has happened to them—of course. All of us, I’m sure, in this Chamber will more than empathise with the situation that they find themselves in, of course.
“Well, what should be done as a result? First of all, the ombudsman’s report was clear in its findings that the care provided was unacceptable—by more than one hospital, but unacceptable. The health board has accepted the report’s recommendations in full. They have sent their action plan to us. Officials will now monitor the actions taken by the health board to ensure that the recommendations within the report are implemented. There has already been a great deal of learning and improvement in practice as a result of what is, of course, a very sad case, and we will ensure that that continues.
“As part of the learning process, I can say that we expect all NHS organisations to reflect on this case to identify any learning to improve patient care within their own respective organisations as well. So, yes, Hywel Dda will take action. That action will be monitored by us.”