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Infrasturcture failings in Welsh NHS harm patients - Black

January 19, 2010 12:16 PM

Statistics uncovered by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have shown that patients are being harmed due to infrastructure failings within the Welsh NHS. Six patients have even died as a result.

Figures released by the National Patient Safety Agency show that between July 2008 and June 2009, six people died as a result of incidents with infrastructure within the NHS, which includes staffing, facilities and environment.

There were a further 172 incidents of severe harm, and the total number of infrastructure incidents total 3,620, which does include incidents where harm was prevented.

These statistics follow a report which shows that there is a £505 million backlog in repairs needed to the Welsh NHS estate, including over £240 million of 'high or 'serious risk repairs. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be calling for a strategy to deal with this backlog on Wednesday.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister Peter Black said:

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the repairs backlog in the NHS does have a significant effect on patient and staff safety. The NHS estates report admits that some of the estate does not meet safety standards, and the consequences of this are shown in these latest statistics.

"The government has effectively accused us of scaremongering on this issue in the past. Our fears are however justified as this is proof that patients and staff are being put at risk.

"There must now be a plan of action from the government. They claim to be spending more but the backlog is increasing year on year. Without a plan this money is being squandered rather than targeted at the areas of greatest risk. The longer this continues, the more potential risk there is to patients and staff."