Originally reported in the Daily Post, 27-01-2017.
Figures reveal the shocking rise over a four-year period for patients with bone, muscle, nerve and joint conditions
New data reveals a 5,000% jump in waiting times for patients needing treatment for orthopaedic conditions.
Figures from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board show the shocking rise over a four-year period for patients with bone, muscle, nerve and joint problems.
In November 2012 the number of patients who waited at least 36 weeks for orthopaedic and trauma treatment was 56.
However, for the same month last year the number had jumped to 3,052.
Aberconwy AM, Janet Finch-Saunders, called on the Welsh Government to take responsibility for the delays in North Wales and for the orthopaedic care by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Mrs Finch-Saunders, said: “I have constituents who have been waiting 80 weeks for knee surgery, 130 weeks for hip surgery, and many others who face unacceptable and, quick frankly, appalling delays in treatment times.”
She was referring to the case of Conwy woman, Claire Dewhurst as reported in the Daily Post last week, who is being forced to endure an 80-week wait following an accident at work.
Mrs Finch-Saunders added: “In November 2012, just 56 patients were waiting over 36 weeks for orthopaedic and trauma treatment.
"The latest figures show that, four years on, this figure was nearly 3000 – an increase of over 5000%.
“The Welsh Labour Government needs to admit their culpability here – having taken the board into special measures, it is imperative that they actually work to bring down these intolerable waiting times.
"My constituents need to be able to have trust and confidence in their government, and, with regards to the health services, Welsh Labour are failing them on every level.”
A spokesman for the health board responded: “We, along with other health boards across Wales, are experiencing significant demand on orthopaedic services.
“Tackling orthopaedic waiting times is a significant priority for the health board and, in an effort to reduce our waiting lists, we have scheduled additional outpatient clinics and theatre sessions, as well as offering patients the opportunity to transfer their care across North Wales to try to reduce waiting times as much as possible.
“An additional consultant is now in place in the central area, and we continue to work with clinicians, patients and community groups to develop a sustainable plan for the future given our ageing population and continued demand, with a specific focus on how we can reduce waiting times in the short to medium term.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The majority of patients waiting in North Wales are waiting less than 26 weeks.
"However, we recognise that trauma and orthopaedics is a challenging area where some waiting times are simply not acceptable. The Cabinet Secretary for Health has already been clear about the problem and the need for improvement.
“Through the work of the Planned Care Programme we expect to see a reduction in waiting times. We have given the health board additional funding to support performance and expect to see improvements over the coming months”