- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A professional medical body’s praise for specialist cardiac nursing in west Wales has been described as “immensely cheering” by health minister Mark Drakeford.
Following concerns raised about cardiac care in the Hywel Dda Health Board area, the Board commissioned an independent, expert review. The Royal College of Physicians’ report, published in January, includes recommendations to strengthen the role of specialist nurses, to provide better cardiac rehabilitation and heart failure services.
At Assembly questions this afternoon, Labour Mid and West AM Joyce Watson asked the health minister:
“(The report) places great emphasis on extending the role of specialist nurses in cardiac care. Has the government taken, or will the government be taking, steps to increase the number of such nurses in the Welsh NHS, especially in mid and west Wales, where it has proved difficult to recruit consultants with an interest in cardiology?”
In the report, the Royal College praises the commitment and expertise of the nurses it met, while conducting its review.
It also argues that there is a much better chance of recruiting and retaining high quality nursing staff than cardiac consultants. Attempts to recruit consultant general physicians with an interest in cardiology for Bronglais and Withybush have not been successful, it concludes.
Mr Drakeford replied:
“For anyone with an interest in the reputation of the Welsh NHS, the strongly positive things that the report, from people independent of Wales, says about the calibre and the quality of the specialist nurses providing those services in west Wales is immensely cheering.
“The future of the NHS will depend upon us maximising the contribution that people can make in that way. I was very pleased in announcing the £80 million-investment we will be making in training for nurses and allied staff only a week or two ago to be able to say that we have moved significant amounts of money into training extra specialist nurses in mental health, child health and especially adult health.”
Although the review did not identify any parts of the current service as unsafe, it does make a number of recommendations advising Hywel Dda on how cardiology services could be configured to improve the care of patients across the university health board area.
HDHB has announced it is setting up a clinical project board to consider the Royal College’s recommendations. It will provide an official response at the public board meeting in May.