When will we know what went wrong at Cwm Taf? Welsh Conservative Leader asks when a report will emerge into health board’s maternity failings

Answers from the First Minister on what went wrong at Cwm Taf University Health Board last year have been demanded by leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM.

The leader of the opposition quizzed Mark Drakeford AM in the Senedd this afternoon, asking for answers about when a commissioned report into the failings of Cwm Taf health board will be published.

Maternity services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital were brought into question last year, after it came to light that 43 serious incidents had been recorded by the hospital between 2016 and September 2018, including 22 still-births and five deaths of children within a few days of birth.

Mr Davies asked for answers from the Welsh Government about the ‘postcode lottery’ of services in Wales, following a Health Board Inspectorate Wales report published after an unannounced visit to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in October.

He said: “It is quite clear, First Minister, that your government failed for too long to get a grip of the dire situation faced by mothers and families under the care of Cwm Taf University Health Board.

“Women facing childbirth have the right to expect high-quality care during this difficult time, and the best chances of delivering a healthy baby. But it seems this isn’t always the case across some parts of Wales.”

The Royal College of Midwives even warned in its State of Maternity Services report from September last year - one month before the serious incidents at Cwm Taf came to light - that because of the age profile of women under this health board, as well as levels of smoking and obesity in the area, the complexity of the workload faced by midwives and the entire maternity care team is even greater at Cwm Taf.

Mr Drakeford responded to the Welsh Conservative Leader’s question saying that he was confident that patients were no longer at risk in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, but he failed to commit to when a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, commissioned in January by the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, would be published.

Commenting outside the chamber, Paul Davies AM said:

“The Welsh Government needs to be chased on when this report will materialise, so that families and expectant mothers don’t have to wait years to regain confidence in their local service.

“When we consider that the country is still being made to endure the waiting game of finding out the results of the M4 relief road inquiry, we can see that Welsh Government has a track record of dragging his heels on very important matters.

“The inspectorate’s conclusion that problems with understaffing at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital have posed a risk to the safety of patients and staff are totally avoidable and unforgivable. This isn’t the first time that we’ve raised the issue of midwifery staff shortages in Wales, and it’s as big a problem as ever.”