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Health Board makes good progress to address recommendations despite the pandemic, says joint report.

In November 2019 a Joint Review of Cwm Taf University Health Board by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Audit Wales found a number of fundamental weaknesses in the Health Board’s governance arrangements in respect of quality of care and patient safety and made 14 recommendations.

Our joint report, published today (18 May), provides a progress update against the original 14 recommendations. We have been mindful of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the ability of the Health Board to respond to the recommendations, however, given the fundamental deficiencies identified in 2019 it was important to establish what progress the Health Board has made. We undertook similar evidence gathering activities as in our previous review. The ongoing requirements for social distancing, and the suspension of our onsite audit and inspection work at the time of fieldwork, meant that our work was undertaken remotely.

Through our work, we found that the Health Board has made significant progress against many of the recommendations despite the challenges it has faced in responding to the pandemic.

We found that the Health Board has made progress at a strategic and operational level to ensure a greater focus on quality, patient safety and risk. Arrangements for organisational scrutiny of quality and patient safety have also improved.

The management of incidents, concerns and complaints has been improved and positive steps have been taken by the Health Board to improve organisational culture and learning.

It is clear that the challenge of responding to the pandemic has impeded progress on improvements in some areas, meaning some actions haven’t progressed as quickly as originally intended. This means that there is still work to do in each of the areas where we made recommendations in 2019.

More detail about the progress made against individual recommendations is set out in our joint report.

Alun Jones, Interim Chief Executive of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, said

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, much work has been done by the Health Board to address the issues we raised in 2019. There is a greater focus on quality, patient safety and risk alongside a considerable commitment, drive, and enthusiasm from the staff and a clear desire to get things right. This needs to be sustained to ensure that the work completed so far is built upon, and embedded.

Adrian Crompton, the Auditor General for Wales, said:

Today’s follow up report acknowledges the important work that has been done by the Health Board to address the concerns we identified in respect of governance and organisational culture back in 2019.  The action taken means that the Health Board should now be better placed to both identify and respond to any problems that may arise with the quality and safety of patient care. However, there is still more work to do, and it is important that momentum is maintained in the context of the wider recovery challenges that will exist as we start to emerge from the pandemic.

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