05/02/2014 The Wales Report


Serious concerns that the body monitoring standards in the Welsh NHS is not up to the job and poet Gillian Clarke on why a love of literature is key to improving literacy.

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Tonight on the Wales Report: Monitoring standards in the NHS but


is the Welsh system up to the task? Bridging the skills gap among Welsh


workers, but does the new strategy go far enough?


And National Poet, Gillian Clarke, on why a love of literature is the


key to improving literacy standards in Wales. Stay with us for the Wales


Report. Good evening and welcome to the Wales Report where we take a


look at the issues affecting lives in Wales and question some of those


making the decisions. A series of scandals in the NHS has raised


serious concerns about patient safety in hospitals. In Wales there


are concerns that the organisation monitoring standards, Health Care


Inspectorate Wales, is not up to the job. The Wales Report has been told


that in the next few weeks the National Assembly's Health and


Social Care Committee is going to call for reform of the Inspectorate


following criticism from people inside and external stakeholders.


The underlying concern is that patients' safety is being put at


risk as Helen Callaghan reports. Weak management and poor


communication. Just two of the failings that led to an increase in


cases of the C.difficile log. The man running Wales 's biggest


hospital has offered an unreserved apology to the families of people


who died while waiting heart surgery. Scandals have shaken our


faith in the professionals who look of reds. When things go wrong we


want to know who has been watching over them. Here, Health Care


Inspectorate Wales is the chief regulator. Part of the Welsh


Government, it is meant to act independently to ensure all services


and to standard. It has had the responsibility since 2004. It is the


organisation 's 10th birthday this year. You won't find too many people


here that the offices ready to celebrate. Just recently they have


been on the receiving end of a series of devious and inane


criticisms. Ash Celia and stinging criticisms.


There has also been criticism on how the Inspectorate works with other


watchdogs. That includes Wales 's community health councils. They


regularly inspect services and collect data about patient


experiences which they can share with HCIW. They are worried about


the Inspectorate ability to use it. There is a lack of the source and an


intelligence Blackall where we can provide the data and we need to


ensure we do that in a reliable way that in a form the Inspectorate can


use. When it gets to HIW, we don't have the perception it is being used


effectively. There are concerns if their information is not being acted


upon, problems could be missed. One would assume that if you are not


utilising the intelligence we give you, a heads up the service is not


as effective as it should be, people would suffer as a result. Another


persistent complaint about Health Care Inspectorate Wales is following


its own investigations is taking too long to publish reports and action


plans. Looking at the websites, we found that after an inspection on a


spot check, on average there was at least a five-month wait before any


report came out. In some cases it was a year before anything was


published. Mental health charity, Hafal said it is vital the reporter


then as soon as possible. It takes a long time for the reporter come out.


There is a chance problems will continue to occur in the particular


agency where the problem occurred or elsewhere because they haven't


learned their lesson. It is important we learn quickly what


happens. Recent scandals demonstrate in adequate scrutiny of health


services can jeopardise patient safety. When it emerged hundreds of


patients died needlessly at a hospital in midst of a chip,


England's health regulator was heavily criticised for failing to


uncover what is going on. Hospital in Staffordshire. In Wales when


questioned by the assemblies Health Committee during an enquiry into the


Inspectorate 's work, HIW Chief Executive admitted a similar -- if a


similar situation arose year, it could go and detected. My concern at


the moment in terms of being able to give you the assurance you want, is


I am not convinced that we have sufficient coverage in terms of


testing for me to be able to give you that assurance. Doctor


Chamberlain said given more resources she would like all major


hospitals in Wales to receive at least two unannounced inspections


every year. She confessed currently inspections and only being carried


out once every three years. I think it is about one in three. We quite


away. -- we're quite away. The Inspectorate did issue a statement


saying it recognises that external scrutiny and challenge is critical.


It is expected that further scrutiny is likely to come in the next few


weeks when the Health Committee publishes its findings following its


enquiry into the Inspectorate. The Wales reporter understands it might


make uncomfortable reading for the inspect threats. We have been told


the committee is likely to recommend the Welsh Government carries out a


root and branch review of high be inspected at operates. Many argue


that radical change is exactly what is needed if patients are to get the


regulator they deserve. The lesson of bad things that have happened,


both in England and in Wales, is that we need a robust and reliable


and trusted regulator. Helen Callaghan reporting. Joining


me now from our Westminster studio is the MP for Cynon Valley, Labour's


Ann Clwyd. She has been campaigning to improve standards in hospitals in


Wales and England. She produced a comprehensive report last year on


the way ahead. Thank you very much for joining us. How you concerned


are you? I don't think it is fit for purpose. The Health Care


Inspectorate Wales which is supposed to be the regulator says itself it


can't manage, it can't assure people that is not a mid Staffordshire


situation in some Welsh hospitals, the fact they have and be sourced --


and the resort and all the organisations that have given


evidence have lots of criticisms. They are calling for the Chief


Executive of hospitals in Wales. I have been concerned about several


issues in the NHS in Wales because of the hundreds of letters I


received from people in Wales. What to say to be worse, especially


workers in the NHS, who would save -- say you are them and bring --


scaremongering? I am simply quoting from the health spectre that Wales


which for some time has not been able to act effectively as a


regulator. That is a concern. What happened in mid Staffordshire is the


people who were supposed to regulate weren't able to do their job, did


not do their job. That is why you have a new commission in England


because the body that was in being beforehand simply did not do the job


and stop I am afraid that is the same situation in Wales. If the


Inspectorate Chief Executive herself said she can't promise that isn't a


similar situation in Wales, that is a cause for concern. I have had


whistle-blowers get in touch with me. I would like more to get in


touch with me. I would protect their identities. I had the consultant


sending me an e-mail saying he wanted to tell me he no longer


wanted to work in the NHS in Wales because he could not give his


patients the care they needed. Did he offer any views why he wasn't


able to provide the standard of care? Was it a question of


resources? Is it how the health service is managed? He was not able


to give people, patients were being referred all being referred to


late. He wasn't able to carry out the diagnosis that he wished to


carry out. He could not give people the scans he thought they should


have. I have had several others say similar things. You have only got to


look at what is going on, I think there is a cover as far as some of


the figures are concerned. I made these points to the First Minister,


I made them to the Minister for health in Wales. I have been


pressing on all these things for a long time. In that sense, the


arguments people have for merging these two Inspectorate in Wales, the


health care is that and then the care inspected the is, what should


happen? I am not a person who can say what reorganisation should be


taking place. I am saying there should be a keyhole style inspection


in Wales of the hospitals with the highest mortality rates. Once you do


that, you can put some hospitals, if the need to be put, into special


measures. That is imperative. A proper health inspected it which is


better resourced, not run on the same lines? A proper health


inspected it. Look at the Care Quality Commission in England. That


has been criticising itself. We should have a chief inspector of


hospitals as the do in England. In fact, Professor Sir Mike Richards is


making sure the report that I wrote a few months ago on complaints and


the way to deal with complaints, is actually being put into practice. I


will be checking up on that in six months time. Just a final point, you


mentioned you have been in touch with the First Minister, have the


responses from the Welsh Government team satisfactory? To be frank, no.


I am still waiting for a reply. I have had a holding reply. I visited


Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, at the end of November. I wrote to him


on December the 3rd, I have had a holding reply and two months have


gone by. I don't consider that satisfactory. We hope to get answers


in the next few weeks. Thank you very much for joining us.


Is there a skills shortage in the Welsh workforce? 11.4% of the


working age population in Wales have no qualifications, that's a higher


proportion than the UK average. Wales also ranks poorly in education


indicators such as the international league tables PISA and the warnings


are clear, that an under-skilled workforce is damaging the Welsh


economy. Speaking on this programme last month the economist and Welsh


Government adviser, Gerald Holtham, had this message.


Our educational standards are slipping behind those of the rest of


the UK and certainly behind the best places in Europe. We have got to


turn that around. EV want technical businesses here, large companies


here, what they want is a trained workforce. Youth unemployment in


Wales is also high there are currently 3,545 young people aged


between 16 and 24 claiming unemployment benefits for a year or


more. Some in the business community say that while they are happy to


provide training, schools in Wales should do more to prepare young


people for the world of work. The private sector should be involved. I


think it is the responsibility of the education sector to provide a


workforce that is numerous and literate and has the basic skills


the private sector needs. Last week the Welsh Government launched a ten


year strategy to boost skills in the workplace. I'm joined now by the


Deputy Minister for Skills, Labour's Ken Skates. This figure of over 11%


of the working age population in Wales without qualifications, when


is that likely to come down to the English average? We are driving down


those figures by getting people who need the skills, to give them the


skills and we have the essential skills in the workplace programme


and earlier today I was with a home care service giving them the pledge


because that employer has done the right thing and recognise many


employees need essential skills and literacy, numerous and ICT. Skills


they did not pick up at school. Yes, ICT skills are constantly


changing because we need to up skilled people in that domain to


make sure the gap in the market can be addressed and plugged.


Basic numerous ER literacy are things which employers should not be


having to teach. You could ask that question of any government anywhere


in the world. What we are doing and precious few are doing is taking


action, we are implementing the long-term plan to lift up the


essential skills. You have no choice because standards are so low.


Employers need to engage with government.


With European money we are funnelling -- funding essential


skills across Wales. When can people see results, based the international


league tables and the school results and Baron Barris in some cases.


When will we see measurable results? We are already seeing results,


skills training is increasing between us and England. We are


seeing a vast improvement in terms of employability of young people.


We measure that by the amount of young people not in education,


employment or training. Wales has developed -- delivered the


sharpest fall in the proportion of young people... We recognise it has


been stubborn and too high and we have set a target of 9% to be


sustained by 2017 for that group of 16 to 18-year-olds.


We are pushing that figure down dramatically.


Why are we in a position in 2014 where Wales which has had such a


wonderful track record in vocational training where we are taking


emergency measures to catch up, what's gone wrong?


They are sustainable measures. The policies we are implementing in


tandem with employers and learning providers will last the test of


time. Traditionally the Welsh economy has been based around heavy


industry, that industry was decimated in the 1980s and


communities were based around strong ethics of community learning, based


around the workplace. That was troubled by the experience of the


1980s. We are having to put together many communities to reinvigorate the


sense of learning. Let's spell out the consequences of


not getting to where you want to get to. One of the warnings we reported


on was people want to invest in Wales, they will look at the quality


of education and the basic skills, if we don't get to a better place,


the consequences are dire. You have justified why we have


implemented this strategy. We have worked hand-in-hand with


employers, further education and universities and the trade unions,


and the CBI, to make sure we take collective responsibility to drive


up skills in society so we can capture a higher proportion of those


jobs because we need to recall that over the past decade we have seen a


deep crease in the number of lower skilled jobs in the Western world.


This is part of the trend in the Western world. We need to make sure


we lift the average level of skills up so we capture higher-level


skilled jobs. I mentioned the International table


results which has caused banks to. Will that improved by 2016 and how


important is it that Wales moves up the table in terms of literacy and


numerous sea and science? The Minister for education and First


Minister say it is vital we raise standards.


My concern is that we improve employability skills, these are


often attitudes, making sure people have the right attitude to the


workplace, their work ready and they have the basic skills. It is no good


at educating the population, you need to make sure the population are


able to apply what they learn to the world of work so we are looking at


schemes like the using gauge meant framework to give young people a


guarantee of a suitable place post-16. It doesn't just recognise


their skills Peter Lines their skills and hopes and missions with


where they want to be -- but lines. In two, three, four years time?


Are we going to see measurable improvements because we can talk


about aspirations endlessly. Give us a sense of what the goals are, how


can we measure success? 2017, we will reduce the proportion of young


people who are not in education, employment or training to 9% and


keep it at that level or lower. Minister, thank you for coming in.


The events organised to celebrate the centenary of Dylan Thomas' birth


are well underway. Wales' National Poet Gillian Clarke believes that


encouraging people to read more books and poetry by native authors


is the key to tackling poor literacy levels. We caught up with her at a


poets' retreat organized by Literature Wales on the theme of


another great Thomas -- RS Thomas. The cat and see. It is a matter of a


black cat on their clifftop in March. His eyes anticipate the


petals. The formal equation of a domestic per with the cold interiors


of the Seas mirror. I became a poet partly because I bet


a beautiful poem called the cat and the sea and after doing Shelley,


Wordsworth, Tennyson, Shakespeare, this man called Thomas had this


beautiful poem. I was knocked out. I read it again and again. How has he


done that, how has he done it? I can remember owing to schools years ago


grumbling that there were no Welsh poets studied in Wales and teachers


said there aren't any good enough. Can you believe it? I would like to


see everybody reading something, some of the people here are for a


retreat. One man said I knew nothing about poetry and I have never


written and he has been so engaged in it. I would like to solve the


literacy problem in Wales, we used to be the best in Britain. What has


happened? There is no time for the most important thing in education


and that is creativity. No success has ever been had in chemistry. In


mathematics. In any thing unless creativity and imagination have been


at the core. It couldn't be more important. It is very exciting for a


child to discover characters from their life on the page. And scenes


from their life on the page. I would like to see all children doing some


writing every week in school. I would like them reading every day, I


want them to read whole books and not just chapters. We need to be the


best in Britain where we are lagging behind. I want all of the children


reading better than English children. If you were all excited


about what we read and write we would feel proud of ourselves and we


would be better at dealing with the other educational things. I want


people to feel affirmed. There is a challenge. Joining me now is


Leighton Andrews, the Labour AM for the Rhondda and a former Education


Minister and performance poet Claire Potter. Thank you for coming. There


was a question in the middle of that piece, we were the best in Wales,


what's gone wrong? I think we were not as focused as we should have


been on the standard in schools over the last decade. We took our eye off


the ball. It has been excepted by others and in terms of creativity we


introduced the foundation phase enabling young people to learn


through doing, it enables them to act creatively -- creatively and has


been welcomed by not just those in education but those beyond in terms


of what it allows young people to do. What is your experience, what I


can people saying? They left poetry and experience and I find we begin


with a poem but we connect it to their own lives and characters


meaningful to them. What I'm hearing from teachers if that was


wonderful. If only I had the time do that. There are constraints of


targets and league tables and teachers are under pressure so they


don't have the space to think creatively and do what they are


passionate about. How does that process of engaging


with a vehicle like poetry will translate directly into better


literacy standards as measured by international organisations which


have been causing us problems? If you go into a school with a poem,


you don't just teach the poem, you ask the children how it connects and


relates and then they write so when we look at grammar and punctuation,


it is not in isolation or something far removed. They come to understand


in their work which is important to them if they use a comma or a; they


are understanding the meaning because it connects to them. And


Tuohy focus too much on tight measures on rigorous measures -- do


we focus too much and should we let the season -- system to be more


flexible? We don't have league tables for primary schools. Let's be


clear, what Claire is doing is fantastic and it is going on across


Wales. Children's authors, children writing reviews of films. I brought


a film club in to boost literacy and numerous sea. There is a huge amount


of creativity going on. Gwyn Thomas pot-macro Centenary was last year


and Rachel is judging one for schools. --'s. The question then is


when can we see that commendable activity translating into better


performance and a less in harassing showing for Wales in the league


tables? You don't want a simplistic crude alignment of creative it --


creative activities. It does broaden people's understanding and I asked


Di Smith to carry out a full review of the arts and education engaged


and I produced age in this report well written report last summer


which Hugh Lewis is looking at about how we bring that in.


Finally, engaging and people, are we promoting the right kinds of poets


and authors, there was a big Dylan Thomas industry, it is a big


momentum, we saw RS Thomas, very little mention of him, Gwyn Thomas


concentrating on the right authors and poets? I would say no. When I


taught at a school in Cardiff I was surprised and was still using the


same texts I was taught at school if you years ago. We need to rethink


that and more Welsh authors to make it more relevant and more real in


our language so it is more accessible. Examples. Nigel Jenkins,


RS Thomas, Gillian Clark. RB in the right place? The opportunity is


there, we invested as a Welsh government taking the novels of


Wales into Welsh secondary schools. It is in the curriculum. The issue


is are the teachers sufficiently equipped with a knowledge of Welsh


literature in various forms from drama to poetry to teach that in the


curriculum, it is a question we should look at but the opportunity


is there. That is a different debate for another time. Thank you for


coming in. That's it for this week's programme.


We'll be taking a break next week, but in the meantime you can get in


touch with us about the issues discussed tonight, or indeed


anything else. E-mail us at [email protected] and we are


on Twitter. Thanks for watching. Good night. Nos da.


Serious concerns that the body monitoring standards in the Welsh NHS is not up to the job and national poet of Wales Gillian Clarke on why a love of literature is key to improving literacy standards.

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