A JOINT investigation by Simon Hart MP and the Shadow Welsh Health Minister has revealed that Welsh patients are waiting more than twice as long for hip replacements as patients in England.
Official government figures requested by Mr Hart and Darren Millar AM revealed that Welsh patients wait six months for treatment, whereas in England, patients can expect to be operated on within eleven weeks.
"More and more people are getting in touch with me who are desperate for these operations," said Mr Hart. "One lady from Pembrokeshire who wrote to me had worked in the NHS for 40 years before retiring. She has been told she will have to wait between 12-18 months for a new hip, whereas family in the Midlands can expect to have the operation in just 2 to 3 months. She is only 57 and is in so much pain that she has decided to spend £9,000 of her NHS pension on having the treatment privately.
"I can see why people in Wales are so upset at receiving such second-class treatment."
Mr Hart teamed up with Darren Millar, Clwyd West AM and Welsh Shadow Health Minister to ask the same questions of the Welsh and Westminster governments.
In a written reply, Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford said that the average waiting time for a hip replacement in 2012 in Wales was 169 days, or just over six months.
Mr Hart was told by Jane Ellison MP, Under Secretary of State for Public Health, that the average waiting time for hip replacement in England in 2012 was 78 days.
"What is also of great concern is that waiting times are only going to get even longer because Hywel Dda Health Board has cut the number of orthopaedic operations it carries out this winter by 50%," added Mr Hart.
"We are hearing first-hand from constituents that we are getting a second-class health service in Wales and now we have the figures to prove it."
Darren Millar AM said, "There can be no excuses for the wide disparity in performance between England and Wales - Welsh patients deserve to have timely access to treatment such as hip operations and delays can cause misery to them and their loved ones.
"The Welsh Labour Government must get a grip of this situation and ensure that the NHS has the resources it needs to provide the high quality care which the public rightly demand."
Simon Hart MP
House of Commons
15, St John St
or 0207 219 3000