Confidentiality Statement

We are keen to hear from anyone with views on colocation, or experiences they’d like to tell us about.

Ever since we launched the Colocate Velindre website, inbox and twitter feed, we’ve been contacted by people wishing to share their views and experiences. Sadly, there is anxiety around the potential for repercussions, including from New Velindre leadership. This means that some people have told us informally that while they agree with what we stand for, they’re reluctant to go on the record.

We’d like to reassure anyone with information they want to share with us that we take their confidentiality seriously. We will not post any information in any form that could potentially identify the source without their explicit consent.

You can read our full confidentiality statement here: https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/contact-us/

Thank you Velindre staff!

Let’s not forget fantastic NHS Staff

At this time of austerity, uncertainty and challenge, it’s easy to overlook those who turn up daily and keep the world ticking over. Alarmist news headlines come and go- we may be relying on the army to drive ambulances. But let’s remember the hundreds of paramedics and ambulance drivers who turn up every day and go over and above each shift. They forgo breaks, finish late and often sit outside hospitals in a van, waiting. NOT doing the job they trained to do. NOT doing what gives them purpose in their work.

It isn’t just the ambulance service

Elective surgery is experiencing unparalleled delay, but let’s not forget the teams who continue to do the best for patients in this taxing environment- dealing with emergencies and fighting with their organisations to admit patients for interventions.

Intensive Care Units are full. Doctors are covering nursing shifts.

Critically ill patients may be transferred between sites to accommodate demand across networks. But people are doing their best.

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What do COVID 19 in England and the New Velindre project have in common?

Groupthink

Co-locate Velindre blogged last week about how decision making by the New Velindre leaders showed disturbing traits typical of groupthink.

https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/is-the-new-velindre-team-hopelessly-out-of-touch-part-2/

https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/is-the-new-velindre-team-incurably-out-of-touch/

We weren’t to know that only days later a Westminster report on the handling of COVID 19 would tell us that here too the Government’s approach ….was not challenged enough by ministers in any part of the UK, indicating a “degree of groupthink” https://www.bbc.com/news/health-58876089).

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Follow Co-locate Velindre on Twitter!

We are pleased to announce that Co-locate Velindre is now also on Twitter. We’re providing comment and scrutiny around the issues of co-located vs stand- alone cancer centres.

passionate about world class care in the safest location. Truth, evidence, transparency, engagement, quality, safety.’

follow us on @colvelindre

Is the New Velindre Team hopelessly out of touch? Part 2

Groupthink

In Part One of this blog, https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/is-the-new-velindre-team-incurably-out-of-touch/we described features of the New Velindre leadership group up to Autumn 2020 resembling the social behaviour known as Groupthink.

What happened next?

The external response at the time was increased clinicians’ pressure against the plans alongside the progress of a popular petition to Senedd in the same strain. Consequently the ‘Nuffield Advice’ was arranged, a contract between Velindre Board and the Nuffield Trust, and announced October 1st.

Unfortunately the Nuffield advice was immediately peddled as an Independent Clinical Review – in particular on the website of the one Member of Senedd closest and most sympathetic to the New Velindre scheme, namely Julie Morgan MS for North Cardiff.

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Anyone fancy an iPhone 4?

Alongside the impassioned, drawn out legal fight that has been making local headlines recently, (https://colocate-velindre.co.uk/ms-lewiss-judicial-review-heres-what-you-wont-know/) the clinical fight to be heard continues unfettered.

Clinicians are speaking out

Despite a local clinician going public on Welsh television, there has been an eerie silence from Velindre. They have made no effort to either acknowledge or challenge the damning claims: that the new model of care does not, and can not, guarantee the safety of deteriorating patient on a stand-alone site without its own dedicated transport service.

Sadly, and not without irony, the broadcast went live on the same day the ambulance service acknowledged they were relying on the army to help them with unprecedented demand.

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Money Talk

We know that money is tight in NHS Wales- we see the effects every day, after all. Welsh Government faces tough decisions every day. These decisions directly affect the care NHS staff can provide, and the pay they receive for their efforts.

‘Magic Money’

Take nurse pay, for example. Welsh Government has offered a 3% pay rise. This is a pay cut in real terms. Mark Drakeford himself agrees that nurses deserve more, but the cash could only be found ‘from doing even less’ to provide services.

Our NHS is already facing huge challenges ensuring safe staffing levels on wards. The cost of agency nurses to cover staffing vacancies is spiralling. In at least one Welsh hospital, Consultants are being taken away from their own specialist work to cover nursing shifts. Unsurprisingly, morale is plummeting.

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Welsh Government don’t listen to the Professionals

Yesterday’s BBC article (Mon 4th Oct 21) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58769347 again raises the shortage of cancer specialists in Wales.

As Winston S Churchill wrote in the Hinge of Fate in 1950, there is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away.

The Royal College of Radiologists represents clinical oncologists and diagnostic radiologists, and has been active for years in collecting and publishing workforce data.

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Confront the Brutal Facts

We at Co-locate Velindre congratulate both Richard Pugh, Head of Macmillan in Wales and Dr Seema Arif, Consultant Oncologist at Velindre Oncology Centre for highlighting the growing number of terminally ill people accessing end-of-life benefits. In today’s BBC article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58769347  they report a “20% year-on-year increase in application forms for people who have less than six months to live”.

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Is the New Velindre team incurably out of touch?

‘To co-locate or not to co-locate’. As far as Velindre is concerned this Hamlet-like
question does not arise.  The New Velindre Team has claimed that Velindre is a
successful brand, that it should continue to be on a separate site away from other
services, and that its Team answers to no-one regarding the choice of underpinning clinical model except the Welsh Minister of Health. This group tendency is widely known as groupthink. It occurs when a group ignores problems and challenges from outsiders, exaggerates its own abilities in decision-making and underrates its opponents.

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Are ambulance pressures putting Velindre emergency transfers at risk?

Warning to Health Minister

Senior doctors have written to the Welsh health Minister, Eluned Morgan, warning that pressures on the Welsh Ambulance Service are putting patient safety at risk.

BMACymru Wales Committee Chairs and Local Medical Committee chairs signed the letter, reported in Wales Online https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/doctors-tell-health-minister-patients-21664036

What does the letter say?

In the letter the doctors refer to serious delays in urgent transport of patients to hospital, leading to avoidable harm. In some cases, the Welsh Ambulance Service has refused to attend emergency requests from the public and clinicians. Some patients have had to arrange alternative urgent transport to hospital or receive treatment in inappropriate settings.

Why does this matter to Co-locate Velindre?

Velindre’s stand- alone Cancer centre in Whitchurch frequently calls on the Welsh Ambulance Service to transport very sick patients from Velindre to the University Hospital of Wales. Staff dial 999, just as you would if you had a medical emergency at home. Velindre patients aren’t ‘fast-tracked’ by the ambulance service, as they are deemed to be in a place of relative safety, ie a hospital.

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What about the Nuffield Trust advice?

We have consistently called for an independent review of the Velindre stand-alone model. Many people think that the Nuffield Trust have already carried out an independent review of the Velindre model, and approved it. Velindre would certainly like you to believe this. There are just two problems:

  • The Nuffield Trust didn’t carry out a review of the model, and
  • they didn’t approve it.
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