Coroner’s concerns on A&E staff levels

Royal Gwent HospitalA coroner has raised concerns about staffing levels after the death of a patient in an emergency department. Valmai West was admitted to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport after falling in January 2020 and died a week later.

Coroner Caroline Saunders said staff shortages meant Ms West had not been observed frequently enough. In a prevention of future deaths report, the coroner said she was concerned staff shortages might put the lives of future patients at risk.

The inquest heard Ms West died of an intracranial bleed and that neither hospital protocol nor National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on the frequency of observations had been followed.

Ms West had shown no signs of an intracranial bleed, which was later picked up by a CT scan. However, the coroner said staff shortages had not influenced the outcome for Ms West. She has written to Aneurin Bevan health board asking what steps are being taken to address staffing levels.

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