The Royal College of Surgeons has called for an urgent review of all hospitals in Wales amid “public anxiety” over standards of NHS care.

It said “urgent assurance” on safety is needed and expressed fears about poor levels of performance, the BBC reports.

A more robust hospital inspection programme including greater input from professional medical bodies is needed, according to the RCS, although it stopped short of calling for a wholesale review of the Welsh NHS.

The Welsh government has rejected calls for a review, saying one is not needed.

However, the RCS said action is needed from politicians, NHS managers and clinicians in order to boost public confidence in hospitals.

The RCS, which represents surgeons across the UK and promotes surgical standards, said it was worried about the high number of patients who die while waiting for heart operations in south Wales.

It also expressed concerns over the big overall increase in people waiting excessively long for hospital treatment.

The intervention by the RCS has won the backing of Conservative shadow minister for health Darren Millar, who described it as “not right” that Welsh hospitals had higher death rates than other parts of the UK.

“We need to understand the reasons for that and I am pleased the RCS has made this call,” he said.

The Conservatives have previously called for an inquiry into Welsh NHS care standards, along similar lines to Sir Bruce Keogh’s investigation into health trusts with the highest death rates in England.

Meanwhile, as part of its call for the hospital inspections system to be beefed up, the RCS has suggested a dedicated “hospital inspectorate” should be set up within Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.