North East Wales

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hip surgery waiting times an 'outrage'

Hip x-ray Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The average wait for hip surgery in Wales is 226 days compared to 76 in England

Hip replacement surgery waiting times at a Denbighshire hospital have been branded an "outrage" by an assembly member.

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

The health board confirmed the wait at Glan Clwyd Hospital is 112 weeks.

The Welsh Government recognised orthopaedics as a "challenging area" but said "some of the waiting times are simply not acceptable."

Hip surgery now represents the widest gap in NHS performance between Wales and England according to statistics, where the average wait in England is 76 days compared to 226 in Wales.

Image caption Mr Millar said "the people of north Wales deserve better"

Mr Millar, who represents Clwyd West, said patients having to wait over two years for life-changing surgery is "unacceptable."

"Such a huge delay in treatment has a huge impact on quality of life, and can be costly for the NHS given that conditions can deteriorate and require more complicated and expensive surgery further down the line," he said.

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."

Mr Doherty said a number of options are being considered to increase orthopaedic capacity.

These include regularly validating in and out-patient waiting lists and offering patients to have their treatment carried out by another consultant, either in their local hospital or another within north Wales.

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

The Welsh Government has a self-set target of 95% of patients waiting less than 26 weeks from referral to treatment.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said the majority of patients waiting in north Wales are waiting less than 26 weeks.

"However, we recognise that trauma and orthopaedics is a challenging area where some waiting times are simply not acceptable," they said.

"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 they expect to see improvements in the next few months.

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