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NHS heart bypass surgery waiting times double in Wales

From BBC - April 11, 2018

The average length of time heart bypass patients have waited for surgery has nearly doubled across Wales.

Official statistics show patients waited an average of 79 days between April 2016 and March 2017, compared to 43 days in 2015-16.

Wales is lagging significantly behind the English NHS in six out of 11 of the main categories for procedures and diagnoses, other figures have shown.

The Welsh Government said it was working to cut bypass surgery waits.

England's average wait for a heart bypass was 51 days in 2016-17, 28 days fewer than in Wales.

The biggest difference between Wales and England was for hip operations, where the average was 215 days and 82 days respectively in 2016-17.

'It does make you a bit angry'

Meurig Williams from Llanrwst in Gwynedd has been waiting more than 18 months for a hip replacement.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "It will be nearly two years by the time I get it, I am sure.

"I can walk. It is painful - I can walk on the flats but I ca not go up a hill. It starts to get hot and it starts to burn and then it seizes up and I ca not go any further."

Mr Williams said he was "ok" if he sat down, drove or lay down, adding: "So probably I am lucky in a way compared to some people.I hear they are in terrible pain all the time.

"It does make you feel a bit angry that if you were in England you'd get it straight away."

Waiting times in Wales for the treatment of cataracts, hernias and the diagnosis of heart disease were also significantly longer than in England.

The Welsh NHS had shorter waits for kidney transplants and treatment for head injuries while both systems recorded the same results for the diagnosis of cancer.

The results were drawn from the headline figures measured in the hospital episode statistics from the English NHS and Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW).

Dr David Bailey, chairman of the British Medical Association's Welsh Council said: "The fact that Wales again lags behind England in the majority of waiting and diagnostic times is disappointing.

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

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