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First Minister “in denial” over waiting times

Created on 28/06/2013 @ 11:31


The First Minister for Wales has been branded by a local AM as being ‘in denial’ over waiting time targets for local patients.

Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, made the comments after challenging the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM (pictured), to get a grip on waiting time delays for treatments being commissioned by Powys Teaching Health Board.

Mr George raised the issue during this week’s First Minister’s Question Time by stating that there were still over 250 Powys patients waiting more than the Welsh Government’s 36-week target, which was largely due to the waiting time policy the health board introduced last November.

Mr George and local MP, Glyn Davies, exposed Powys’ waiting time policy last November when they claimed that the health board were being forced to extend referral to treatment times for Powys patients being treated in English hospitals from 26 weeks to 36 weeks because of budgetary pressures.

Mr George said: “Powys Health Board was forced into taking this step last year because of the Welsh Government’s swingeing cuts to core funding being provided to health boards.

“However, there was an expectation that the health board would reverse its policy at the start of the new financial year and ensure those patients forced to wait over 36 weeks would be treated immediately; I still haven’t had a clear explanation from senior staff why that has not happened.

"We have two hospitals in England – Robert Jones and Shrewsbury - treating English patients in 18 weeks but they are still being forced to refuse treatment for Welsh patients before 32 weeks. That is unfair and it cannot continue.

"It is extremely disappointing that patients from Mid Wales should have to wait longer for an operation simply because the health board are seeking to delay payments.

“People living in Montgomeryshire feel they are being penalised for living in Mid Wales; therefore it’s about time that both the Welsh Government and Powys Health Board get to grips with this issue and get it properly resolved.”

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