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Labour continue to reject death rate inquiry

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Carwyn Jones today again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into high death rates in Welsh hospitals, after health campaigners urged Ed Miliband to raise their concerns with the Labour First Minister.

The campaigners met with Ed Miliband on his visit to Cardiff on Friday and presented a letter calling for an inquiry.

The latest Risk Adjusted Mortality Index data shows that only three hospitals in Wales have death rates that are not above the England and Wales average.

In September 2013 the RAMI figure for Neath Port Talbot Hospital stood at 137.

For the same month Glangwili stood at 135, while Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil was 120.

Carwyn Jones has previously ruled out a Keogh-style inquiry on grounds of cost. Sir Bruce Keogh raised his concerns over high death rates in Welsh hospitals with the Welsh Government but received no response.

Andrew RT Davies AM, Leader of the Opposition, said, “With death rates in Welsh hospitals at levels that would have triggered immediate investigation anywhere else in the UK, Labour Ministers must stop burying their heads in the sand.

“Death rates in Welsh hospitals are way above the England and Wales average and suggest underlying problems which deserve thorough investigation.

“The latest RAMI data shows that death rates in almost every Welsh hospital are much higher than expected and Ministers must take Sir Bruce Keogh’s advice and launch an independent inquiry to identify the causes.

“This is a Labour Government which delayed the original publication of 2013 RAMI data to try to confuse the picture with different sets of data to cover up the reality of high mortality.

“Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour have done everything possible to avoid scrutiny and accountability for high death rates in the Welsh NHS and it is no surprise that they continue to avoid transparency.

“Labour Ministers need to learn the lessons of the scandal in Mid Staffs and would do well to listen to the genuine and informed concerns of health campaigners, who have tragic first-hand experience.

“It is disappointing that once again Carwyn Jones has rejected the chance to find out why death rates in Wales are so high and begin to address the underlying causes.”

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