Posted: Thu 25th Feb 2021

Concerns over hospital waiting list ‘crisis’ in North Wales – one consultant has over 450 patients waiting for treatment

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021


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Concerns have been raised over a hospital waiting list “crisis” in North Wales after the region’s health board revealed one consultant has more than 450 patients on his books.

The information was disclosed by the new chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in a letter to a Senedd member.

It followed Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders raising the case of one constituent, who has been left in limbo for more than three years.

The Conservative MS said the woman was still waiting for a double knee operation, despite being referred in November 2017.

Speaking in a Senedd session held today, she said she recognised COVID-19 had impacted on waiting times, but called for the Welsh Government to take action to improve the situation.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “I’ve been liaising with the chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

“Earlier this month, she sent me a letter that stated, and I quote: ‘With the small volume of elective surgery that we’ve been able to perform over the past 12 months, waiting times have increased considerably’.

“I was writing to her about a constituent who’d been waiting a long time in immense pain.

“She said one consultant, Mr Ganapathi, now has more than 450 patients waiting for treatment, and, according to the chief exec, over 350 of these have waited longer than my constituent who was referred for double knee replacement in November 2017, long before our pandemic.

“Whilst acknowledging the pressure caused by COVID-19 and welcoming the news that a new post-anaesthesia care unit has opened at Ysbyty Gwynedd, the evidence is clear that orthopaedic treatment is in crisis here in North Wales.

“Please advise what steps you are taking to help facilitate more day-case and in-patient surgery, and whether consideration can be given to increasing the health board’s partnership with English trusts, and coming to an arrangement with more than just two, for patients to be offered their surgery outside of this health board.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was “undeniable” that waiting lists in the area were lengthy before the pandemic.

However he said the situation had been “exacerbated even further” by COVID-19 and insisted working with English trusts was not the solution to the problem.

He said: “As members will be aware, there’s been significant interruption of normal care and treatment, so the orthopaedic waiting list has grown even further over the course of the pandemic, not just in north Wales, but across the whole country.

“Our challenge is how we get to a sustainable system and how we deal with the big backlog that has built up as well.

“With respect, I don’t think that partnerships with NHS trusts in England are likely to address the backlog or a sustainable service.

“The reason for that is that, actually, the system within England needs to get to a point where it is more in balance as well.

“We won’t be able to buy our way through this by undertaking more activity in the private sector alone.

“We are going to need to have a proper approach that I think is consistent with NHS values here in Wales.”

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