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Patients choose surgery abroad as wait lists grow

PUBLISHED

Several patients awaiting treatment on the Welsh NHS have turned to surgery abroad as waiting lists hit record levels again.

Waiting lists hit a record of almost 750,000 in July prompting surgeons to demand "urgent action".

The Welsh government said waits of more than two years were improving.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said there were "signs of hope" that a target for no-one to wait more than a year for their first outpatient appointment could be hit by the end of 2022.

But the Conservatives accused Labour ministers of having "little strategy" to tackle "extraordinary waits", while Plaid Cymru called for action "to increase capacity and improve patient flow".

Sharon Seymour, 62, from Monmouthshire, went to Lithuania after being told she faced a "two years plus" wait for a hip replacement.

The council worker said she also found out about Lithuania from other patients in Wales and had her surgery in July. She said the fact that people were taking matters into their own hands suggested the health system in Wales was not working.

"[The NHS] does need a huge cash injection... a rethink completely now," she said. "The sadder point is the people who have the ability to pay will get it.

"The inequality between those who can't and that [can is] a sad state of affairs," she added. "It's only through luck that we've managed to find the funds to go to Lithuania.

"For most people, it isn't an option and that's horrible."

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Source: BBC News, 22 September 2022

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