A CANCER patient who died at Glan Clwyd Hospital suffered from “a lack of fundamental nursing care and compassion” in his final hours, a jury has ruled.

And after hearing the conclusion Diane Roberts, who had waited six years for the full facts about her husband Glyn’s death to be aired, welcomed the comments and hoped that promises to improve the standard of care would be kept.

After two days of evidence at the inquest in Ruthin the jury of five men and three women returned a narrative conclusion in the case of 61-year-old former police officer Glyn Roberts, from Llangernyw, near Abergele.

Mr Roberts, who latterly worked for the patient transport service of the Welsh Ambulance Service, died on December 29, 2008, five months after being given the “all-clear” from prostate cancer which was first diagnosed in 2000.

Mrs Roberts said he started feeling unwell and tired in October and as his condition deteriorated he had pains in his chest and had difficulty breathing.

He was prescribed medication for a chest infection but in early December a scan revealed a tumour and a post-mortem examination found the cause of death as cardiac arrest following an aggressive pancreatic cancer.

Three times he was admitted to hospital but discharged, the final time being on Christmas Eve.

An independent report commissioned by John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, from specialist Professor Pat Price found that the GPs’ diagnosis and treatment was reasonable and that the cancer was so advanced that nothing could have been done to save Mr Roberts.

She also found that failings in the standard of care at Glan Clwyd played no part in his death.

Those failings, which caused the family huge distress, were highlighted in a report by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales and at the inquest Angela Hopkins, executive director of nursing and midwifery with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, detailed the improvements carried out in the wake of the report.

The coroner said he had been reassured by her evidence to the extent that there was no need for him to issue a Regulation 28 report to try to prevent future deaths.

After deliberating for over three hours the foreman of the jury read a narrative conclusion stating: “The jury concludes that in his last few days, while under the care of the hospital, there was a lack of fundamental nursing care, compassion, support and communication to both the patient and family members.”

On behalf of the jury he also expressed sympathy with Mrs Roberts and her family, adding: “We hope our decision brings some closure to your pain.”

After the hearing Mrs Roberts commented: “I am so glad that the jury reached that conclusion and made the comments about the standard of care in my husband’s case.

“I would not have been happy with a simple ‘natural causes’ conclusion.

“We have concerns about some of the evidence given at the inquest which we feel did not reflect what had occurred.”

Mrs Roberts said she was grateful to her legal representatives for their support over such a long period, adding: “I was lucky that I could afford to keep fighting but others may not be so lucky.

“I now hope that the changes we heard about are real.”

A statement issued by Farleys Solicitors, who represented Mrs Roberts, read: “The family have waited six years for this inquest and it is hoped that the conclusion will go some way in bringing them some sense of closure.

“The inquest raised a number of serious failings in the care afforded to Mr Roberts by nursing staff at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

“It can only be hoped that lessons have been learned from the death of Mr Roberts and that those lessons will bring a better and more transparent standard of patient care.”