We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site.
Misrepresentation of Patient numbers transferred for urgent escalation of care unavailable at the current Velindre site:
The concern here is that the figures quoted by the Velindre NHS Trust are incorrect, misleading and falsely reassuring to the general public. More worrying is the intention to replicate this current model of care at the proposed New Velindre Cancer Centre on the Northern Meadows.
What do Velindre say?
In the document “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?” Velindre say:
“fewer than thirty patients a year on average need an unplanned emergency transfer.”
What are the actual numbers of transfers?
We submitted a Freedom of Information enquiry to WAST (Welsh Ambulance Service Trust) and they provided us with the raw data on ambulance transfers.
On average around 100 patients are transferred each year using the 999 Ambulance system. These are urgent transfers for escalation of care that is not available at Velindre Hospital.
We asked Velindre NHS trust the same question, in another Freedom of Information request. They told us:
“Due to the nature of these clinical pathways, and the number of clinical systems, the organisation does not hold one overall system that collates all patient interventions and transfers”
“In our duty to advise and assist we can confirm patients are transferred to other acute hospitals for a range of interventions and the details are accessible by clinical staff in the individual patient record.”
What does this mean?
Essentially the Velindre NHS trust have no idea how many patients are transferred each year, nor indeed why they are transferred. To be certain of the exact figure, every set of patient notes held by the Velindre Hospital would have to be scrutinised.
The previous statement “Fewer than 30 patients a year” could, for all we know, be a random number chosen to offer a false sense of security to the public.
This misrepresentation continued as recently as November 2020, with the publication of a letter in the South Wales Echo, from the Chair of Velindre NHS Trust.
Whilst this letter suggests that most transfers were non urgent, the Nuffield Trust report 2020 states that non- urgent transfers are rare:
“In addition to the 999 calls detailed above, there were a very small number of other non-urgent transfers”