Welsh Government
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NHS Wales Chief Executive publishes his new Annual Report – NHS increasing its focus on quality and safety

The Welsh NHS is taking significant steps towards ensuring better quality of care and improved measures of safety - that was the main message from NHS Wales Chief Executive David Sissling as he published his second annual report.

Achievements during 2012/13 include:

  • publication of new data on hospital mortality and hospital infection rates, helping to provide more transparent information to the public and drive up standards across the NHS;
  • all seven Welsh Local Health Boards and three Trusts now publishing Annual Quality Statements to report to the public on progress with the quality and standard of the services they provide;
  • a new dedicated website for patient safety providing information on how well each NHS Wales organisation is doing with implementing over 70 measures (safety solutions) designed to improve safety and quality of care; current data shows the NHS is doing well with 100 per cent compliance in many areas;
  • continuation of the 1000 Lives Plus quality programme, including introduction of a new system to alert staff if a patient's health is deteriorating and prevent deaths from sepsis;
  • continued progress in reducing healthcare associated infections over the last year, including a 10 per cent reduction in C.difficile infections and19 per cent in MRSA infections;
  • continued improvements in reducing admissions related to coronary heart disease (-5.5 per cent), and diabetes (-3.5 per cent);
  • high satisfaction levels with NHS services - 84 per cent satisfaction with treatment in A&E departments and 92 per cent satisfaction with care by a GP
  • the fastest rate of improvement since 1993 across the UK for cancer survival rates; and
  • delivering financial balance.

In his second annual report, David Sissling described the year as being "defined by three issues".

David Sissling said:

"Firstly, our response here in Wales to the Francis report has meant an assessment of the safety and quality of our services and the introduction of measures in response.

"NHS Wales is the envy of much of the UK in terms of its focus on quality and safety.  We are introducing more mechanisms to detect risks or problems before they occur, publishing more performance data to be more transparent to patients and drive improvement across the service, and also continuing to pioneer innovative programmes on raising quality of care.

"Secondly, throughout Wales our Health Boards have gone to public consultation regarding proposed changes in service delivery models. Some of the proposals represent a significant adjustment to much cherished local services, and that is why an effective and thorough process of engagement with our staff and the public has been so important. But one thing is clear and that is that changes have to be made to ensure our services are sustainable and able to respond to the many challenges faced by healthcare across Wales.

"Finally, the pressures experienced by the NHS in Wales during the winter period saw an unprecedented demand on our urgent and emergency care services and meant the re-direction of resources towards the increased demand. This in turn, of course, led to pressures on other parts of the service. We have been able to learn from these experiences and we are now planning for the rest of 2013 and the next three years.

"Reducing emergency and general hospital admissions is therefore a priority. The number of emergency and general admissions and readmissions has an effect on a hospital's ability to deliver its non-urgent surgery, as resources are taken up in caring for the unplanned admissions. The trend during the previous years continued with fewer admissions related to coronary heart disease and diabetes, and fewer readmissions related to both coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

David Sissling added:

"This has been a challenging year indeed, but I must pay tribute to all the hard work of NHS staff in the face of all that they have been required to do. Their dedication and commitment is exceptional and I am grateful to them and to the many volunteers whose invaluable contributions are often unseen.

"I want the NHS in Wales to be on an upward curve in terms of continual improvement in the services it delivers. There will be more challenges to come but if we continue to put our aim for first class patient care at the centre of our day-to-day plans, side by side with the committed and dedicated NHS workforce that we have in place, then we will get ever closer to the type of healthcare that we would all wish to see and experience here in Wales."  

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