Advising with empathy and experience

Delays in Welsh hip surgery.

Hip replacement surgery waiting times at a Denbighshire hospital have been called “an outrage" by a member of the Welsh Assembly.

Darren Millar wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board following a complaint from a constituent about her treatment.

The health board confirmed that the wait at Glan Clwyd Hospital is 112 weeks. Hip surgery now represents the widest gap in NHS performance between Wales and England. According to statistics, the average wait in England is 76 days compared to 226 in Wales.

Mr Millar, who represents Clwyd West, said patients having to wait more than two years for life-changing surgery was unacceptable.

He said: "Such a delay in treatment has a huge impact on quality of life, and can be costly for the NHS as conditions can deteriorate and require more complicated and expensive surgery later."

Responding to the email sent by Mr Millar in November 2016, the health board's chief executive, Gary Doherty, confirmed the 112-week waiting time.

He said: "Whilst we appreciate that this is not the level of service we would wish to provide, we continue to work closely with the Welsh Government to support reductions in our patient waiting times."

He said a number of options were being considered to increase orthopaedic capacity including regularly validating in and out-patient waiting lists and offering patients an opportunity to have their treatment carried out by another consultant, either in their local hospital, or another in north Wales.

He said a review for a sustainable orthopaedic service across north Wales was also being undertaken.

The Welsh Government has set its own target that 95 per cent of patients should wait under 26 weeks from referral to treatment.

A spokesperson said the majority of patients in north Wales are waiting fewer than 26 weeks but added: "However, we recognise that trauma and orthopaedics is a challenging area where some waiting times are simply not acceptable. The cabinet secretary for health has already been clear about the problem and the need for improvement.

"Through the work of the Planned Care Programme we expect to see a reduction in waiting times."

The spokesperson added that Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board had been giving additional funding to support performance and they hoped to see improvements soon.





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