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Royal College of Physicians publishes Grange University Hospital follow-up review with recommendations

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The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has published a follow-up review after its virtual visit to the Grange University Hospital in June 2021, and an initial report published in August 2021.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has published a follow-up review after virtual visits to the Grange University Hospital. RCP Cymru Wales has worked closely with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) over the past few months to support the health board in developing an action plan to improve patient care and medical education across its hospitals.

At the Grange University Hospital, the health board has committed to the rapid development of robust pathways of care for unwell patients presenting to minor injuries units at Nevill Hall, the Royal Gwent and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr. In addition, funding is now in place for a front-door frailty service at the Grange, which will commence for a trial period later in 2022.

Trainees must meet certain requirements to progress in their medical education to become a consultant, including attending a certain number of outpatient clinics. Staff training opportunities in elective care, diagnostics and outpatient clinics were severely impacted by the pandemic and hospitals have struggled to get back to normal amid the ongoing pressures from COVID-19 admissions and emergency demand.

Dr Olwen Williams, RCP vice president for Wales said:

‘I am very pleased that Aneurin Bevan UHB has produced a clear action plan and is working with the RCP and Health Education and Improvement Wales to improve patient care and medical training. It is now crucial that the health board leadership continues to proactively listen to its staff, taking on board their concerns and addressing these through genuine clinical engagement.

‘As the NHS in Wales redesigns services to meet the needs of patients in a post-pandemic world, general internal medicine must be central to those plans. Very few patients these days fit into a single specialty; it’s just not modern medicine. After all, the number of people aged over 75 in Wales is expected to increase by almost a quarter in the next 10 years. Frailty services, general medicine and care of the elderly will become increasingly important in the coming years, and every health board should be considering how they will invest in these services to care for an ageing population. I welcome the health board’s commitment to revisiting the general internal medicine model of care at the Grange University Hospital, and the planned recruitment of more doctors and other health professionals to support colleagues at the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals.

‘In the longer term, we need to support and expand the NHS workforce by recruiting more health and care professionals, increasing medical school places and focusing on staff wellbeing, flexible working and career development for those who want it. The NHS in Wales must show compassionate leadership and prioritise the mental health of its workforce as we begin tackling the waiting times backlog.’

Dr James Calvert, executive medical director for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said:

‘The first 2 years since the opening of the Grange have been challenging. However, clinical teams have continued to innovate to ensure we maximise the benefit of our new system for the local population. The front-door frailty at the Grange will be designed to ensure that the most vulnerable patients receive the right care, first time, with no delay. We welcome the partnership working we have undertaken with the RCP in Wales and look forward to sharing new innovations in coming months.’