It’s never nice to see a public service in jeopardy but this is apparently very much the case at the troubled Glan Clwyd Hospital.
The bad news for this important health centre has kept on coming for months now and there looks like little indication of it abating.
The highest profile news story of late surrounds the death of a patient by the name of Alan Charles Baker, as covered by ITV News. A retired civil servant, Baker contracted Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) at Glan Clwyd Hospital last April and an inquest has now been launched. Baker was one amongst ninety-six to become ill with the superbug from January to May last year and one out of thirty to die at the hospital from the virus.
“Quite often there were a lot of bells going. It was quite obvious they were short-staffed,” said the widow of Mr. Baker, Cynthia Baker.
There have also been overcrowding concerns at the beleaguered hospital over the past year. As there has been an influx of patients and little to no room to accommodate them, complaints have been pouring in from visitors and health experts.
Calling for more action to stop serious overcrowding, the Denbighshire Free Press reported on the opinion of a spokesperson from the League of Friends. Morfudd Jones stated: “As someone who has been visiting close relatives regularly in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd recently, it’s clear that Glan Clwyd is struggling both in terms of bed capacity and car parking. Parking is atrocious and beds are being blocked by patients who are fit enough to return to community hospitals.”
Following on from this, the hospital itself has been slammed as “unsafe” by The Daily Post. In fact, all non-urgent elective surgery has been suspended after the strain of demand and pressure continues to fall on the hospital in Denbighshire.
Spokesman for the North Wales Health Alliance campaign group, Mabon ap Gwynfor, was quoted as saying: “We warned then that the loss of more than 50 beds would put extra pressure on our district general hospitals. When will health bosses start listening to people?”
Another report, this time by the Rhyl Journal, has stated that there could be “four more years of parking chaos at Glan Clwyd” after the health board for the hospital have struggled to come to a resolution for the constant parking congestion onsite.
A visitor to the hospital was quoted as saying: “It’s getting worse everytime I go to try and find a space, you have to allow an hour before your appointment time to ensure you don’t miss it.”
A local has also stated: “Delays and congestion are already bad at peak times and a new road is planned that is to serve a large residential and industrial development. Ambulances, emergency vehicles, deliveries of blood transfusion and urgent supplies may encounter unacceptable delays. “
In addition, the unfortunate closure of mental health ward has drawn one or two deriders since the announcement was made in January.
Citing “questionable patient care” as the main reason for shutting the ward, Tawel Fan has been closed for the time being amidst constant controversy and will not re-open for the foreseeable future as investigations continue into the state of the staff and its facilities.
All of this recent bad press came to a head in January when it was announced that the chief executive at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – the organisation which maintains operations of all North Wales hospitals including Glan Clwyd – has stepped down from her position.
BBC News pointed towards a breakdown in a working relationship the chief executive Mary Burrows and chairman Professor Mefyn Jones. Burrows had announced that she would be quitting in the summer of last year but finally followed through with it in early 2014.
Glan Clwyd Hospital and the whole of the health board are in a state of disarray and you’d have to hope that they can find a suitable level of working operations soon not only for them but also for the people of North Wales.
It’s worth noting however that not all press has been bad for Glan Clwyd Hospital has been bad in recent times as it was recently applauded for helping a cancer sufferer by the name of Stacey Radcliffe who had lost her hair after treatment. A nurse at the hospital forwarded her to a nearby salon who then provided her with a wig and have now started supplying them to those who need them.
In addition, Glan Clwyd has been praised for saving the life of a premature baby. Four weeks early, Ellie Kelly started haemorrhaging and the medical staff acted quickly to perform an emergency caesarean in a crucial seven minutes.
“…Ellie wanted her story told because without them, she said she and Keeane both could have died, ” said Paula, Ellie’s mother.
“We can’t praise the paramedics and doctors enough for what they’ve done, they truly are amazing.”
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“Hospital corridor” by www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose & “ambulances” by www.flickr.com/photos/lydiashiningbrightly