A Conservative AM has hit out at waiting times for hip replacement surgery at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
In an e-mail to Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, the Betsi Cadwaladr health board revealed patients were waiting for 112 weeks for surgery at the Bodelwyddan hospital – over one and a half years more than the six-month target set by the Welsh Government.
Mr Millar said the e-mail from Betsi chief executive Gary Doherty was in response to a complaint from one of his constituents, who had been referred for a second hip replacement surgery, but faces waiting until August 2018 under current waiting times.
Mr Millar said ”the people of North Wales deserve better” and described the waiting times as ”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. Already in special measures for a catalogue of serious failings, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board must explain how it intends to bring down these waits.”
Mr Doherty said the health board was carrying out a review to set up a sustainable orthopaedic service across North Wales, adding: ”Whilst we appreciate this is not the level of service we wish to provide, we continue to work closely with the Welsh Government to support reductions in our patients waiting times and a number of options are currently under consideration by the health board for increasing orthopaedic capacity.”
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said most patients in North Wales were waiting for 26 weeks or less, but added: ”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.”
Database statistics reveal hip replacement surgery now marks the widest gap in NHS performance between Wales and England – the average wait in England is 76 days compared to 226 in Wales.