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University Health Board introduces urgent measures after more concerns about vascular services


Urgent measures have been taken to address more concerns about vascular services in north Wales.

Issues have been reported since Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board centralised the service at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Denbighshire in 2019.

After two critical reviews by the Royal College of Surgeons since 2021, a new report has shown more problems.

Previous reviews highlighted deficiencies in care, record-keeping, obtaining consent and follow-up.

As a result the health board set up an independent Vascular Quality Panel (VQP) to improve the service.

However, two further cases of failings have since been revealed which led to Health Inspectorate Wales designating the vascular network a service "requiring significant improvement."

The new report states: "On 8th July 2022 the chair of the VQP raised safety concerns in relation to the management of aortic patients following the completion of a review of 11 patients' notes.

"The executive medical director, Dr Nick Lyons, received three recommendations for immediate implementation."

The three recommendations were to reintroduce dual consultant operating for aortic patients, involving a specialist centre in Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings for all aortic cases, and recruiting a vascular surgeon with aortic experience.

The report continues: "The first and second recommendations were implemented that day and remain in force. The MDT is supported by Liverpool University Hospital Trust (LUHFT).

"The fragility of the consultant rota led the health board to consider contingency plans should the service not be able to be delivered as currently configured and these plans remain under close review."

The new arrangements have resulted in some outpatient activity and non-urgent elective surgery being cancelled.