Monday, 7 March 2016

Gobowen patients from North Wales made to wait longer

Are patients waiting due to Betsi financial problems?

Here is the funding crisis facing Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in its rawest form. 

A consultant from the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital at Gobowen states that his patient's urgent surgery has been put "on hold until the new financial year when her Health Authority in North Wales may be able to sanction the surgery."

She's not alone - Plaid Cymru has uncovered evidence that BCUHB is routinely delaying treatment at Gobowen so that patients from the North are waiting months longer than patients from England and other parts of Wales.

Concerns over these “unacceptable” delays for patients from north Wales waiting to attend the Gobowen orthopaedic hospital have prompted calls by Plaid Cymru for an urgent review into whether funding is being withheld because it’s the end of the financial year.

 Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said the maximum waiting time for patients from the Betsi Cadwaladr health board area was more than double that of patients from England and other parts of Wales.

He said notes from a meeting to discuss risk management last month revealed that BCUHB patients were having to wait 52 weeks for treatment due to the health board wanting to delay access to save funding in this financial year. 

Mr Gruffydd added
“BCUHB seems to be operating a policy of not treating patients according to need but according to the health board’s financial position.

“The Welsh Government also has some explaining to do. It’s put Betsi in special measures and therefore has direct oversight of this issue. The Government’s three-year rolling budgets was supposed to prevent end-of-year financial pressures but this is clearly not the case. What we’re seeing is financial considerations taking precedence over clinical need and that is clearly unacceptable.

“One doctor writes in sheer frustration about the added problems his patient has faced because of the delay – making that patient’s care more complex and costly. It’s a false economy and I’ve asked for an urgent meeting with the new chief executive of BCUHB for an explanation.

“I’ll also be asking whether the health board’s financial problems are leading to operations and treatments in other English hospitals being delayed into the new financial year. If that’s the case, it’s a scandal and the health minister has significant questions to answer.”

The report of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt (Gobowen) hospital task and finish group states: “Clearly Welsh patients are at a significant disadvantage – waiting much longer than English patients. However, this is due to commissioning intention rather than just RJAH rules.”

It goes on: “There is clear evidence that Welsh patients are not being treated chronologically even within themselves, never mind in comparison to English patients. Whilst it needs to be understood further, this is likely to be the impact of BCU insisting no patient be treated until they reach a 52-week wait in the month.” (p27, task and finish group minutes).

• If you've been waiting too long for treatment at Gobowen, please contact llyr.plaid@gmail.com
  
Patients from:
Internal Standard
England

Maximum wait from referral to first outpatient attendance
6 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to completion of diagnostics
11 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to treatment
18 weeks
Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board
Maximum wait from referral to first outpatient attendance
20 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to completion of diagnostics
34 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to treatment
52 weeks
Powys Local Health Board: Spinal Disorders, Upper Limb & Foot/Ankle
Maximum wait from referral to first outpatient attendance
20 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to completion of diagnostics
34 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to treatment
40 weeks
Other Welsh Patients
Maximum wait from referral to first outpatient attendance
8 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to completion of diagnostics
16 weeks
Maximum wait from referral to treatment
26 weeks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I do not disagree that Betsi has major financial problems causing delay to treatment over the Border. I would challenge the English Hospitals as to the costs charged to the Welsh NHS. Are we in Wales getting a value service or are they treating Welsh patients as a golden goose laying a trail of golden eggs? It is only anecdotal but a few conversations overheard on the train to Shrewbury do suggest that this maybe the way they are viewed.