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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
‘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.
Update! Following yesterday’s piece on Cat Lewis’s Judicial Review, here’s the latest. Media coverage, especially the less friendly, is still boosting her cause. Over £2,000 donated in three days now. And support rising as November 17th is set for an oral hearing of the application.
A news report with unsympathetic asides on Ms Lewis’s Judicial Review yesterday has succeeded in galvanising her supporters in and beyond the community. Donations poured into her appeal all day reaching nearly a thousand pounds by evening with many donors choosing to remain anonymous.
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.
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