SURGERY waiting lists in Hywel Dda University Health Board area were raised with the Welsh Government during First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd.
A Llanelli man, Colin Jones has been in terrible pain since his GP referred him for a possible hip replacement over nine months ago.
Colin Jones said: “I am very grateful to Helen Mary Jones MS who asked a question at the First Minister’s questions about the waiting time that I have endured to see a consultant regarding arthritis in both my hips, I have severe permanent pain and cannot walk without crutches. I’m disappointed about the lack of communication from the Hywel Dda University Health Board.
“I’m aware that COVID-19 patients are a priority but Health Boards in Wales should find a way to start reducing the waiting lists for different medical problems people have by using safe and secure areas of the hospitals or even the temporary field hospitals to be used as clinics.”
Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones asked about discussions the First Minister has had about the waiting lists for surgery in Hywel Dda University Health Board.
First Minister Mark Drakeford replied: “Hywel Dda health board has made steady progress over recent years to reduce waiting times for planned surgery and diagnostics. The impact of the coronavirus and the necessary diversion of clinical resources to respond to it have had an inevitable impact on waiting times despite the enormous efforts of front-line staff.”
Helen Mary Jones MS added: “I’m grateful to the First Minister for his reply, and of course I associate myself with what he said about the huge efforts that front-line staff have been making in hospitals and community settings across the Hywel Dda area. But the need for the restoration of ongoing regular treatments is becoming more and more urgent. One of my constituents, Colin Jones from Llanelli, has described being in terrible pain since his GP referred him for a possible hip replacement.
It hasn’t even been possible for him to see the consultant yet to find out if that’s the right way forward. So, understanding the difficulties that there are in providing for those—well, it doesn’t feel ‘routine’ to Colin, I suppose, but for those without-COVID treatments—what further work can the Welsh Government do help Hywel Dda University Health Board and health boards across Wales to get those elective surgery waiting lists further down?”
Mark Drakeford said: “What the Welsh Government is doing beyond everything we try to do to bear down on coronavirus itself is to support clinicians in the very difficult job that they do of having to clinically prioritise the people who need their attention. And that is a desperately difficult message to give to the individual that Helen Mary Jones referred to, but there will be people with even greater clinical need and, in Wales, I don’t think we would ever want to step back from that basic principle that those who need the help the most get to the front of the queue.”