The British Medical Association finally speak out !
Welsh secretary, Dr Richard Lewis warns that cutting the workforce and reducing bed numbers to meet targets will put patient at risk of harm and inevitably lead to more work for the heath service. Taking the soft option, as usual, the BMA said that they weren't opposed to health boards reducing bed numbers, but warned it should only be done if the right infrastructures were in place that meant it would not have a detrimental effect on patient care. ( huh ? )
He adds to their confusion ( and mine ) by saying, "We know from evidence that short-term actions, based of financial burdens are not an efficient way to run the service." Then - stating the obvious - he continues, "Health services that run efficiently are more cost-effective." Knee-jerk reactions to stop training staff adversely affects patient care, while cutting the workforce increases pressure on staff."
"We have no problem with reducing bed numbers but that has to be based on the evidence that it is the right thing to do and those beds do not need to be utilised. Reducing beds in advance of getting to that stage makes the situation even worse and makes the care of patients less safe" ( so far, this is the best example of 'sitting-on-the-fence' I've ever read ! ). Incredibly, he continues, "You get efficient by doing the right things in the right place and to the right standard. If his is not the case then you end up duplicating things - if you find patients have been harmed you have to correct the inadequate car by doing it again. There are plenty of aspects that need to be changed in order to deliver services more efficiently and safety. ( well now, that's a lot clearer isn't it eh ???).
His comments come after the damning report by the Royal College of Surgeons which has highlighted the impact of ( avoidable ) long waiting lists for cardiac surgery at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. The surgeons said that most operations had been cancelled or not scheduled because of the lack of beds. Well, after closing more than 800 beds and persistently refusing to open more Intensive Care beds - what would YOU expect the consequences to be? R. W.