A woman from Rhyl has spoken of the pain she has had to endure having had to wait for a new hip replacement, as a BBC Wales documentary reveals the sorry state NHS Wales is in.

BBC Wales Investigates: Under Pressure: Spotlight on the NHS recently aired, and revealed that patients in Wales are on average spending more than 60 per cent longer being treated in hospital compared to England.

The finding has come from research carried out by the Nuffield Trust – one of the UK’s leading organisations looking at health data.

This comes following Health Inspectorate Wales’ report into the Ysbyty Glan Clwyd's Emergency Department (ED) identified it as a “Service Requiring Significant Improvement”, with huge concern over patient safety.

The hospital was also found to have the longest A&E waiting times in Wales, with two thirds of patients waiting more than four hours to be seen.

BBC Wales spoke to patients who had waited for far too long to receive treatment, including Rhyl resident Roma Goffett (whose nearest hospital would be Glan Clwyd), who should have had a second hip replacement two years ago but has heard nothing.

Now increasingly dependent on her partner Geoff, Ms Goffett said the ordeal has had a big impact on her health:

“Now I'm overcompensating, so I'm damaging my new hip,” said Ms Goffett.

“Twice I fell because the right leg gave way and the last fall I've torn all the ligaments in my arm.

“I've torn ligaments in my leg – they can't do anything about my leg and I'm still having physio for my arm, but I can't use my arm properly.”

Patients waiting for referred treatment are now waiting almost twice as long as those across the border in England.

Average waiting times are now 24 weeks in Wales, compared to 13 in England.

Mark Dayan of the Nuffield Trust says this is a worrying trend: “That's twice as long as a waiting time that to be honest, isn't really acceptable in England to start with.

“It’s missing all the targets there, so I think patients in Wales are already missing out on care that really they should expect to be getting from a Health Service in a developed country and the risk is that may get even worse.”

The programme also highlights the issue of staff shortages across the NHS.

At the Cancer Centre in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, hundreds of patients have continued to be treated throughout the pandemic, but long term staff shortages have made it challenging for frontline staff, like Ward Manager Julie Roberts and her team.

Ms Roberts said: “We’ve had staff in tears on many occasions unfortunately due to the pressure and amount of work because our work hasn’t slowed down.

“We haven’t got enough permanent staff at the moment to cover all the clinics so we have to rely on bank health workers with the essential skills that we need.”

NHS Wales has an estimated 1,700 vacancies in nursing alone, but the Nuffield Research for BBC Wales Investigates revealed a particular problem with consultants too.


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