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I wish you well Rhodri... but why wasn't I given the same treatment?

Byline: By Greg Tindle South Wales Echo

Rhodri Morgan was expected to leave hospital today amid complaints from heart patients that they had not received the same speedy treatment from the NHS as the First Minister.

His wife Julie Morgan said the Labour leader, 67, who underwent an operation to unblock two arteries, might not return to full duties for a couple of weeks following release from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Mrs Morgan, the MP for Cardiff North, said: "Rhodri is likely to be out of hospital today.

"He is absolutely fine and was sitting up in the chair most of the day. The operation was very successful. Rhodri has still been the First Minister and carrying out vital duties.

"There is absolutely no reason why he can't carry on as before, although he may need a couple of weeks' rest at home.

"Everyone in the NHS reacted so quickly to the problem and have looked after him very well."

But heart attack victim Ron Archbold said today he was still waiting for special tests four weeks after his heart attack - checks that were given to Mr Morgan within 24 hours.

Mr Morgan was admitted to Llandough Hospital with stomach problems on Sunday but then transferred to the University Hospital of Wales yesterday for a routine check on his heart - an angiogram.

The speed of the test has angered 51-year-old Mr Archbold, a customer care supervisor, of Heol Trelai, Ely, Cardiff.

He spent nine days in the coronary care unit at Llandough Hospital after being rushed in with a heart attack in the middle of the night on June 12.

"After returning to a general ward, the doctors said I needed an angiogram but that would take between two weeks to a month and have to be carried out at the UHW.

"I thought I would be better off sitting at home waiting for the appointment rather than in hospital costing them hundreds of pounds a day.

"But once I discharged myself, I was told I would go on an out- patient waiting list and I'm still waiting for that appointment.

"What upsets me is that I've had a heart attack and need an angiogram as part of my treatment. Rhodri gets one as a precaution.

"I've got nothing against Rhodri and wish him a speedy recovery but I can't get back to work unless I get this angiogram and the doctors give me the all-clear."

A spokesman for the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, which runs both the University Hospital of Wales and Llandough Hospital, said: "All patients are assessed and prioritised on clinical urgency.

"If anyone has any concerns in relation to their care and treatment we would ask them to contact us directly in order that we may discuss their concerns with them."

Business Minister Jane Hutt said Mr Morgan had not received any special treatment. She said: "The First Minister has had exactly the same treatment as any other patient on the NHS.

"He was with the other patients in Llandough on Sunday who were in the same position. He was taken to the University Hospital of Wales as is the procedure for any emergency case. Anybody who is admitted with a chest problem will be treated as an emergency case."

Echo comment: Page 20 'Why does my son have to wait?': The families of other heart patients today raised concerns over the speed of Rhodri Morgan's treatment with claims they are being forced to wait for the same medical attention.

Rose Mohamed, 74, of Hollycroft Close, Ely, Cardiff, said her son William Bracher, 58, a steel erector, had been admitted to Llandough Hospital three weeks ago after suffering from a heart attack.

"He has been told he needs an angiogram and stents put into his arteries - exactly the same as Rhodri - but he's been told it will be at least five to six weeks before he can be transferred to the UHW for this treatment.

"I'm very concerned about him. Why does he have to wait? He's very ill and it disgusts me that he's having to wait."

Wendy Jaynes, 44, of Rockrose Way, Cogan, said her dad, retired lorry driver David Jeynes, 70, was also admitted to Llandough Hospital three weeks ago with chest pains. "He has heart problems and has been put on medication but they want to keep him in for further tests and that includes an angiogram. We've been told that will be in five to six weeks. I just don't understand how Rhodri got his angiogram so quickly when he was not taken in with chest and heart problems similar to my dad."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 11, 2007
Words:776
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