“Dire” and “abject” nursing care at a hospital in Swansea may have contributed to the death of a patient with learning difficulties, an investigation has concluded.
The public services ombudsman for Wales last week published a damning report on the standards of nursing and clinical care received by Paul Ridd while at Morriston Hospital.
Mr Ridd, who had severe learning disabilities, was admitted to the hospital with a serious bowel problem in late 2008 and underwent surgery soon after. However, he died three weeks later due to excess secretions in his bronchial airways, following transfer from ICU to a general ward.
An internal investigation – sparked by complaints from Mr Ridd’s relatives – identified shortcomings in nursing care including an “absence” of individual care planning and nutritional or pressure area assessments, observations “not undertaken as instructed” and “occasions when carers were left to perform nursing interventions for which they were untrained”.
The hospital produced an action plan in response but Mr Ridd’s relatives “remained unconvinced” it was adequate, leading to a further complaint to the ombudsman.
In his report on the case, ombudsman Peter Tyndall described the nursing care Mr Ridd received as “abject” and a “long way below reasonable standards”.
“It greatly concerns me that the dire level of nursing care to which Paul was subjected on the [general] ward, could have happened in the 21st century. It is vital that change is robust and long lasting,” he said.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, which runs the hospital, said it had already begun to implement the ombudsman’s recommendations, which included learning disability awareness training for staff.
The board said it had also increased its nursing staff levels and appointed a new ward sister, in response to the original investigation.