Welsh Labour Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething (AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) said on the “70th anniversary” of the NHS that the massively increased financial funding announced by Westminster wasn’t enough for Wales and taxes would have to rise to fund the service

The Cardiff and Vale’s Health Board’s self-indulgent “celebrations” of the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service have had a bucket of cold water thrown over them by fiesty Cynon Valley Labour MP Anne Clwyd.

Ms Clwyd’s husband – a former BBC Wales Head of News and Current Affairs – died in the Cardiff and Vale University Hospital of Wales at the Heath in Cardiff in 2012 when he was being treated – or was allegedly NOT  being treated  – for hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Anne Clwyd Labour MP for the Cynon Valley lambasts the treatment her husband received at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board hospital at the Heath in Cardiff

Amidst all the “celebrations” for the NHS anniversary this week, Ms Clwyd has stood up in the House of Commons and injected dose of unpalatable hard facts into the festivities and said that what she describes as a  ‘cover-up mentality’ in the National Health Service has to stop.

Six years on since her husband died, allegedly neglected “like a battery hen” in the Heath Hospital, struggling to breathe, with his oxygen mask askew, Ms Clwyd had told the House of Commons  “sadly my efforts to obtain information regarding his medical care have been met with considerable obstruction from the Board of UHW ” [the University Hospital of Wales].

In an adjournment debate Anne Clwyd Labour MP for the Cynon Valley castigated the treatment her husband had received at the hands of the Cardiff and Vale Health Board and the University Hospital of Wales at the Heath in Cardiff . The Labour benches in front of her were empty

Anne Clwyd says a “cover-up mentality” is all-pervasive at the Cardiff and Vale Health Board (which provides all NHS Health Services in Penarth and Cardiff).  She says  “I knew that the NHS did not treat its complainants well, but I did not expect to be here still looking for answers nearly six years later.”

An investigation into the death of her husband was carried out in 2014 which  – to no one’s surprise – did not uphold the majority of her allegations .

However Ms Clwyd is a former Guardian journalist who is not prepared to be fobbed-off . She, like her late husband, has always been a committed Labour supporter,  but accuses the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board of a “dismissive, insulting and gratuitous attitude”.

She says more than  4,500 people have since written to her to recount their own experiences of the notorious NHS complaints system and says there is a culture of “deny, delay and defend”.

Maria Battle chairperson of the Cardiff and Vale Health Board making a grovelling apology to a Welsh Assembly Committee after two cases of fradulent procurement had been discovered by the Wales Auditor General

Some of Ms Clwyd’s opprobrium is aimed at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board chair Maria Battle.

In advance of the meeting with Ms Battle, Ms Clwyd had asked to see a report on her husband’s treatment – but discovered that the “senior nurse“, Ruth Walker, had taken it on herself not to release the report prior to the meeting.

Ms Clwyd cited this as an example of the Cardiff and Vale Health Board’s “dismissive, insulting and gratuitous  attitude to members of the public and to the families of loved ones. It reflects the overall cover-up mentality that is all-pervasive in this health board.”  

A Cardiff and Vale Health Board spokesperson says   “We have met with Ms Clwyd on a number of occasions and feel that we have made every effort to address in full all the concerns she has raised and shared with her all actions we have taken to address her concerns.”

However in the Commons Anne Clwyd has savaged the salaried members of the Cardiff and Vale Health Board – many of whom are lay Labour Party appointees with little or no specialist knowledge .

Ms Clwyd said It is heartbreaking to find that the people whom we appoint to safeguard our services, and who benefit from a significant income and a highly respected position in our society, are unable to address the failings of their organisation, engaging instead in obfuscation and half-truths. The cover-up mentality has to stop. We all make mistakes, but we should be ready to admit them.”

Owen Roberts – husband of Anne Clwyd MP – died “like a battery hen” in 2012 at the University Hospital of Wales in the Heath, Cardiff

Ms Clwyd’s husband Owen Roberts had – she said  spent two weeks crammed in a bed, in a “cold, uncaring ward”. Blood tests injdicated he had an underlying infection, but she claimed doctors didn’t examine his blood test data – or Mr Roberts himself . On the last Saturday of his life no doctor had seen him – nor on a Sunday. By Monday – she said – it was “too late”.

She said that if  her husband had been given “effective antibiotics when his inflammatory markers were increasing, he would have stood a fighting chance and would have survived that infection.”

In the Commons UK Government Minister Stuart Andrew told Anne Clwyd that “Frankly, patients and their loved ones can be nervous about complaining. Older people, in particular, often do not want, as they see it, to make a fuss. They can sometimes worry that, by complaining, their care may somehow be adversely affected, which is clearly not what she I or anyone else wants. I believe that the extra funding that we have announced, which will come to the Welsh Government, too, over the next five years, will present us with an opportunity to improve the patient experience across the country.”

The NHS in Wales however is run not by Westminster but by the Welsh Labour Government . It states  “Every complaint made to the NHS is taken seriously. We have a process in place that requires patients’ complaints to be thoroughly investigated in an open, honest and transparent way, with a strong focus on the involvement of the person raising the concern. There is a commitment to learning from complaints and improving procedures to prevent it happening again.

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  1. parsons says:

    Please can we start by improving our ambulance call out time, 3 hours last week for a lady who fell on the pier, 26 hours for my elderly aunt who fell at home, something has to be done urgently, I don’t mind paying extra tax so long as our call out time improves drastically. I remember when as a child our GP used to come to my parents home for a chat and cup of tea when he had finished work, where has it all gone wrong?

    • John Griffiths says:

      How naive. Increasing taxes won’t solve this mess as they’ll just waste the extra money or line their own pockets further.

  2. Christopher David says:

    It maybe that Westminster doesn’t see it as good use of UK tax payers money. Why would they throw more Billions of pounds at a devolved dictator “government”, that is incapable of reorganising the culture and management of the Welsh NHS? In the Clwyd case why hasn’t Gething hauled Battle over the coals- ensured the report is released and Walker is disciplined. From the information I receive from the “ground floor” i.e. the hard working medical staff, management is politically motivated, secretive and inept- not too mention very top heavy! That I’m sure goes for the cosy labour and amateur appointments on the Health Board as well. Billions being managed by rank amateurs!

  3. David Day says:

    I think you should mind paying extra tax, myself. The outcomes for the NHS are below average especially such areas as avoidable death. Also, there is no other European economy that attempts to run a health service only through taxation. Unless this obsolete system is renewed and altered, you should not pay a penny more.

  4. Philip Rapier says:

    The fact is most GPs cannot be bothered to provide pneuomovax vaccine which prevents 8 out of 10 strains of pneumonia.in the over 65s ( Pneomovax is only compulsorily recordable in Medical Records for babies)
    Hospitals should check elderly patient records and provide pneumovax to the vulnerable when appropriate on admission.
    As the Gosport case in NHS England has shown the Geriatric Ward Death Rate is terrifyingly high all over England and worse than anywhere in Wales
    . Surprisingly the MP for Gosport is a Tory -and Minister of State for Health

  5. John says:

    Beware the siren voices of the right (basically, ‘why should we pay more tax’ however it is dressed up) and left (‘nhs is a national treasure and all its staff are angels’).

    It is a good system and most of the staff are great BUT doctors have ift n a little tin box mentality (I was once told to spend a weekend in a ward after being admitted on a Thursday evening because the consultant ‘didn’t work fridays’ – I found out later he had a morning golfing and then did some work in a private hospital, and when I did see a m did he spent about three minut s talking about me but not to me. Patronising; outdated, I do ative if an ‘us and them’ mentality …. obviously forget they are just doing a job like the rest of us. The hospital was dirty, toilets foul and I was kept up all night by nurses talking about Ikea sales and a very demented (proper sense, bless her) lady who kept a wailing protest that she wanted to go home. Files were lost or unread, treatments muddled or reversed … and then we heard that dad had died of ‘hospital acquired pneumonia in a hospital in tha north well known for its high death rate. Patients there crammed 4 to a tiny curtained overheated annex which Mum had cleaned up b cause it was as so untidy.

    So guys, either we go down the US route where 40% have good care and the other 60% can just die, or we ramp up the resources, deal with medic absenteeism somehow and have a massive clean-up – under the supervision of matrons.

    • John says:

      Little tin god, not tin box, above!

    • David Day says:

      The US route is NOT the only route. Why do people keep on and on banging out that silly comparator? What about all other European and Scandinavian systems that mix public and personal funding, spend more per head than us, protect the poorer citizens, and achieve superior outcomes? Please, do read something.

  6. AK says:

    Too much bureaucracy by too many managers.
    My wife had to undergo a fairly minor procedure. This involved visits to two hospitals (feedback to GP), followed by the procedure at a third hospital.
    My friend went overseas for a new hip to avoid the waiting list – he reports minimal bureaucracy and care totally focussed on his rehabilitation.
    I came back from overseas having badly sprained my ankle on the final day. My first visit to A&E since I arrived in Wales 30 years earlier. No problem, they have my details with my little EHIC card. Not a chance! More un-necessary paperwork and form filling (and five hours in A&E)

  7. Andrew Worsley says:

    I paid privately to try and get help and advice for a hearing problem I had , I went to the same clinic twice on the second visit nothing was done and I had only gone to this place to avoid weeks of waiting to get a hearing test and advice about tinnitus . Anyway although I got nothing for my money I was scheduled to see a certain Dr or Specialist at the Heath but on arriving I was told a certain female had taken the place of the male Dr who was scheduled to see me , when I checked up this was the same person who I saw at that clinic and had paid to see, so he had swopped patients to avoid meeting up with me again so soon . Either that or he was out moonlighting again and the female was standing in for him …………….so he was getting paid to see people in private plus a salary on the NHS ……….its called , “having your cake and eating it”, no wonder we have the waiting lists we do etc etc as some of the people in medicine are busy chasing second incomes instead of doing the job they should be doing and its called GREED.

  8. Pete says:


  9. Frank Evans says:

    Wow Labour mps really can’t be bothered with attending parliament.

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