‘Pa­tients face longer waits for surgery’

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

PA­TIENTS are fac­ing longer waits at Wales’ big­gest hos­pi­tal for op­er­a­tions af­ter a claim that 14 the­atre staff quit their posts in the last nine months.

Some peo­ple who should have un­der­gone pro­ce­dures in the early part of the sum­mer at the Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal of Wales in Cardiff are still wait­ing to find out if their ops will go ahead in the next few months, it has been said.

It’s said staff work­ing at the site are be­ing placed un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure by peo­ple wait­ing to be seen.

A man, who did not wish to be named, said he was left won­der­ing over when he would be ad­mit­ted.

He said: “I’ve been told 14 the­atre staff have left be­tween Jan­uary and now.

“I was due to have my op­er­a­tion in Au­gust but it could be any time be­tween now and Novem­ber. I haven’t had a let­ter yet call­ing me back.

“It was meant to be a nine month wait but I’m still wait­ing.”

The pa­tient paid trib­ute to the staff still work­ing at the hos­pi­tal to help pa­tients and said they un­der­stood tem­po­rary staff were be­ing drafted in.

“The staff are un­der huge pres­sure,” he said. “The re­cep­tion­ist on the de­part­ment I’m deal­ing with is do­ing what she can to get ev­ery­one in.

“They have been try­ing to get locums in and they have been try­ing to solve the prob­lem – I think it will have a big knock on ef­fect.”

A Cardiff and Vale Uni­ver­sity Health Board spokesman said: “As a large in­te­grated or­gan­i­sa­tion Cardiff and Vale Uni­ver­sity Health Board em­ploys more than 14,000 staff.

“Staff leav­ing and join­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion is a con­stant fea­ture of our work­force changes and this is not un­usual. On a UK ba­sis, there are known ar­eas of skilled staffed short­ages in health­care, and op­er­at­ing the­atres is one such area.

“Fol­low­ing an in­ten­sive re­cruit­ment cam­paign, by Oc­to­ber our staff va­can­cies within our the­atre ser­vices will have re­duced by 70%.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment and the­atres re­main a spe­cialty which is hard to re­cruit to across the UK. Our on­go­ing re­cruit­ment ef­forts will be to re­duce va­cancy lev­els even fur­ther.

“The Health Board con­tin­ues to make progress in re­duc­ing wait­ing times for planned pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing for surgery.

“Over every quar­ter in the last two years the Health Board has con­tin­ued to re­duce wait­ing times for pa­tients. We would like to re­as­sure pa­tients that our plans for this year will re­sult in fur­ther im­prove­ment.”

Dr Trevor Pick­ers­gill, chair­man of the BMA’s Welsh con­sul­tant com­mit­tee said: “Long wait­ing times have a pro­found im­pact on pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence, and leave staff work­ing in in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult con­di­tions. We hear from mem­bers that doc­tors are “burn­ing out” and leav­ing the pro­fes­sion – fur­ther com­pound­ing the prob­lem and in­creas­ing the over-re­liance on locums cov­er­ing posts.

“BMA Cymru Wales has con­tin­u­ally raised con­cerns around the re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of doc­tors in the Welsh NHS with the Welsh gov­ern­ment.

“Doc­tors are work­ing harder than ever to make sure pa­tients are seen promptly. How­ever, they are frus­trated by the lack of ac­tion in filling con­sul­tant and SAS doc­tor va­can­cies across Wales. We’ve been told that the lack of Op­er­at­ing De­part­ment Prac­ti­tion­ers has meant that op­er­a­tions have been can­celled – de­spite the doc­tor and pa­tient be­ing avail­able.

“It is in the best in­ter­est of pa­tients that this is ad­dressed.”

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