Wales 180Mental health ward-by-ward spot checks for older patients across Wales have revealed "considerable variation" in standards, with room for improvement in some areas, including making sure patients have daily activities and staff can get effective training. However, the checks revealed no evidence of systemic poor care or neglect.

The checks were ordered by Health Minister Prof Mark Drakeford late last year after "institutional abuse" was uncovered at the former Tawel Fan unit at Denbighshire's Glan Clwyd hospital.

The latest review focused on how older patients with dementia and mental illnesses were being looked after on specialist wards. In the main, the checks found staff "were doing their best to provide good quality care in the face of a number of challenges".

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Commenting on the findings, Professor Drakeford said: "These spot checks have provided us with assurance that poor care and neglect are not systemic features of the care of elderly mental health patients in Wales.

"They also highlight compassionate care provided by staff. However, the report does acknowledge there is room for further improvement. I expect health boards to continue to develop and improve services for older people with mental health problems both in hospitals and in the community."

Visits to 22 wards found "many areas of good and excellent practice" across Wales but also issues needing action including:
- Ensuring older people have access to daily activities on wards
- Staff need to feel they can raise concerns easily; have effective training and understand the necessary legal safeguards
- The need for improvements to ward environments, in particular ensuring simple maintenance tasks and repairs take place promptly
- Flexible visiting hours should be encouraged on wards.

Inspectors included mental health nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists.

Read the full reports on each ward at