Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has published the first three reports following its programme of unannounced visits to all 20 independent hospitals across the principality where care is provided to patients with a learning disability.

The reports for Plas Coch, Ty Catrin and Llanarth Court independent hospitals identify areas of strength and those that require improvement. The three reports all confirm there was evidence of good staff interaction with patients.

Areas of strength evident in the three reports include:
• Patients having a good level of understanding of how to raise concerns 
• Patients feeling able to make decisions about their daily routine.

Areas identified within the reports for improvement include:
• Ensuring all staff are suitably qualified and skilled
• Care planning issues.

The inspection programme was brought forward in response to the Winterbourne View scandal, as HIW wanted to find out whether the same things were happening in Wales.
HIW review teams made their unannounced visits at weekends, at night and in the early mornings.

The reviews gathered evidence from:
• Comprehensive discussions with patients and staff
• Careful observations of the interactions between patients and staff
• Meetings with family members and advocates
• Reviewing the appropriateness of the physical environment
• Evaluating the adequacy of a range of documentation including patient care plans, policies and procedures, staff induction and training plans and records of complaints, restraint and incidents.

HIW did not find any abuse or ill treatment in any of the hospitals.

HIW has also launched a new web page with all the inspection reports on, which can be accessed here. [www.hiw.org.uk/page.cfm?orgid=477&pid=63767]

An overview report will be published in 2013.