Letters NHS has let me down.For Welsh Health Minister Jane Hutt to say that nobody should wait longer than 10 months for a cardiac operation is yet again another of her distortions of the truth.
She should have added that it takes up to two years to first see a cardiologist and to have all the necessary tests BEFORE you are placed on her 10-month waiting list.
You don't have to be a mathematician to work out that this can mean a wait of two years, 10 months before treatment.
I know because I have been there.
In May 2002 I was diagnosed as having an enlarged heart and needing a heart valve repair Heart Valve Repair Definition
Heart valve repair is a surgical procedure used to correct a malfunctioning heart valve. Repair usually involves separating the valve leaflets (the one-way "doors" of the heart valve which open and close to .
Having waited many months to see a cardiologist on the NHS I decided to go privately and last November, I was told my condition had deteriorated even further and I needed a mitral valve replacement Mitral valve replacement is a cardiac surgery procedure in which a patient’s mitral valve is replaced by a different valve. Mitral valve replacement is typically performed robotically or manually, when the valve becomes too tight (mitral valve stenosis) for blood to flow into and also a quadruple heart by-pass.
In February this year I was told the waiting list for this treatment was 10 months but in the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile I was likely to have a heart attack or a stroke.
The cardiologist suggested it would be better for me to have the treatment privately.
I agreed. I was not prepared to take the risk of a damaging heart attack.
Surprisingly, and despite the so-called shortage, a bed was found for me in weeks and I have subsequently had a quadruple by-pass, a mitral valve replacement and a pacemaker fitted. It has cost me pounds 15,500 of my life's savings.
Other patients on the cardiac ward at the University of Wales Affiliated institutions
So we, not Jane Hutt, have reduced the waiting list - I wonder how many others have died while waiting or have had damaging heart attacks or strokes.
What really adds to my frustration is that having worked as a journalist for 48 years, I have contributed more than pounds 250,000 in income tax and national insurance and never made a claim on the State.
The National Health Service let me down when I needed it.
Cae Nant Gledyr, Caerphilly