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My three year wait for heart operation; 'Terrified the next hill I go up will be my last walk'.

Byline: Echo reporter

A DAD who was taken to hospital as an emergency was forced to wait almost two years for tests to diagnose coronary heart disease.

Tim Madisson, 68,has been told he could now have to wait up to a year for a triple bypass.

If he lived in England, Mr Madisson (above) would be able to have the operation immediately at a private hospital if the NHS was unable to make room for him.

His only option is to continue waiting for the NHS in Wales, or to find pounds 18,000 to pay for the operation privately.

"I'm going downhill, there's no doubt about that," he said. "Both my parents died from a narrowing of the arteries and clots. I'm quite fit and healthy, although I don't have the energy I did. I'm terrified that the next hill I go up will be my last walk."

The retired British Aerospace employee was taken to Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, in November 2006, suffering from a suspected heart attack but he was discharged 15 hours later after being told the pain was probably caused by indigestion or a hernia.

He was given an appointment for an exercise ECG a week later, which was stopped early because he was suffering from a shortness of breath.

But despite his symptoms, it took a further five months for the results to come back, which showed some "abnormalities".

Mr Madisson, of Ystrad Mynach, was told that he would have a myocardial perfusion scan, which would confirm whether he had coronary artery disease, inNovember2007-a full year after he was first seen in hospital.

He saw a consultant at Caerphilly Miners Hospital in November 2007 and was told that he needed an angiogram, which was finally performed last month and confirmed that he had coronary artery disease.

"I was told I would probably need a triple heart bypass operation, and was advised that the waiting time for my operation would probably be in the order of 52 weeks," he said.

A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly Government said: "We can confirm that Health Minister Edwina Hart has received a letter from Jeff Cuthbert, AM, on this matter. The minister will respond shortly.

"Our current maximum waiting times target for cardiac surgery is 76 weeks.

"This will be reduced to a maximum of 52 weeks by the end of March 2008."

A spokesman for the North Glamorgan NHS Trust said: "We are disappointed to receive these details which clearly identify a breakdown in communication somewhere. We need to investigate the points that have been presented to us, and we will respond to Mr Madisson within the next seven to 10 days."

echo.newsdesk@mediawales.co.uk
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 6, 2008
Words:452
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