Posted: Sat 17th Jun 2023

Average wait times for routine surgery in North Wales are ‘unacceptable”, says MS

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jun 17th, 2023

The average wait times for routine surgery in North Wales are “unacceptable”, according to an MS.

Llyr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, has spoken out after eye-watering recently released figures revealed that the area has some of the worst average wait times in Wales.

The Plaid Cymru Senedd member hit out at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), saying that constituents are “paying the price” for the “chaos and dysfunction” at the organisation.

He has called on the Welsh Government to “get a grip” of the situation and has said the people of North Wales are being “badly let down”.

A local breakdown of Digital Health and Care Wales figures for 2021-22 show the average wait time for routine surgery for Wrexham is 143.1 days. This is the second worst wait time in the country.

The only part of Wales with a worse wait time is Swansea with an average of 151.8 days.

Gwynedd has the third longest average wait time in at 141.7 days, while Conwy is the fourth worst at 140.9. Denbighshire has the sixth longest average wait time at 134.2 days, while Anglesey has the seventh longest at 130.9.

Flintshire is the county that has the shortest average wait time in North Wales at 118.3 days. However, this figure is still higher than the average wait time for Wales as a whole, at 116.5 days.

The Digital Health and Care Wales figures also included statistics for individual procedures. They show that for tonsil operations, the longest waits are in north Wales, topped by Wrexham (451 days on average) and Denbighshire (448 days).

For hip replacements, the average wait in Wales was 464 days in 2021-22, but in Anglesey, it rose to a 620-day average wait, which is the second longest in the country. Swansea is the worst area of Wales to get a hip replacement operation with an average wait of 651 days.

A report by Audit Wales which raised serious concerns about how the troubled health board was being run, said that evidence “points to dysfunctionality and factions”.

It highlighted “clear and deep-seated fractures within the executive team that are preventing that team from working effectively”.

The Welsh Government was forced put the health board back into special measures in February because of patient safety concerns.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan also forced out the non-executive directors on the health board, appointing replacements to try and turn things around.

BCUHB has so far failed to recruit a new chief executive, despite “an intensive search” and offering a salary of £225,000.

Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “Recent figures from Digital Health and Care Wales show that the average wait times for routine surgery in North Wales are far too long.

“Residents in the region are having to wait much longer than people in other parts of Wales to get the treatment they need, and this is clearly unacceptable.

“The chaos and dysfunction that has plagued Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is obviously having an impact on patient care and it’s ordinary people who are paying the price as they suffer long waits for routine procedures.

“While people wait to get the treatment they need, their health and wellbeing is likely to get worse. This not only creates needless suffering for those individuals, but it ends up costing the NHS more money in the long run.

“By not treating people early, the health board is storing up even bigger problems for the future.

“It’s clear that the people of North Wales are being badly let down because they’re not getting the health services they deserve.

“Ministers have to face up to the fact that this is a health board that is too big and too unwieldy to adequately serve the people in the north of Wales. After a series of damning reports, that repeatedly flag up serious issues with leadership, the Government must take a serious look at creating a new model for health services in the north.

“Shifting the blame and tinkering with a series of half-hearted measures has proven to be woefully inadequate.”

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