I'm in Wales. Am I doomed?

I am slightly discombobulated by all the political and press furore over the NHS in Wales, and all the horror stories that are emerging (and being denied by Carwyn, our whatever-he-is, prime minestrone person). I've only the experience from our own doctors, who are great but can't prescribe NOACs because the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board won't allow it, so everyone at the surgery is still on warfarin (but then, is that bad?).

I've had the one trip to A&E, where I was very well treated (but then everyone who wasn't completely broken was home watching the Royal wedding apart from the poor staff...) and one visit to the cardiologist. I see some people saying they have annual checks, which I've never been offered - is that usual in England?

I am guessing if I needed an ablation the Welsh NHS would probably refuse to send me to the Liverpool Chest & Heart, from what's been said, which is quite close and a centre of excellence, or so I believe. The thought of having to travel all the way to Cardiff and the presumably huge wait makes me a little mournful even though this is theoretical right now. I don't even know if Cardiff is any good, after everything that's been said...

I don't know what to think really, other than to hope we stay well-ish! Does anyone else have any thoughts? Are we getting the short stick here? Does Wales implement NICE recommendations? Or are we all doomed, as Private Fraser used to say?

I'm still smiling, by the way. Got to laugh at it all, haven't you?

36 Replies

  • 14 years have passed since I left beautiful North Wales, so I can not really pass any knowledgeable comment on how the NHS operate ( excuse the pun) there now. All the years ( 35 ) I did live there I only had praise for the doctors and hospitals, and the treatment I received ( in Llanrwst, Denbigh, Llandudno, St. Asaph & Bodelwyddan) .

    The standards at my now local surgery and hospital ( both in Milton Keynes) are, in my opinion, horrendous by comparison. To prove a point, a nurse who did my INR check recently was unaware that there are anticoagulants, other than Warfarin, available through the NHS!

    When I had a major operation 18 months ago I was not offered a post op. check up, simply told that if I was worried or felt unwell to call my G.P.!

    The same applies to my AF. I was diagnosed, prescribed Warfarin & Bisoprolol, had 2 appointments with a cardiologist and then told to see my GP if I felt unwell ( duh!!). If it had not been for this site I would not have had a clue about the condition.

    I do not believe that I would have been so badly treated if I still lived in N. Wales.

  • Thanks, Langara... I'm sure you're right. It's not nearly as bad as it's being painted, from my experience - our doctors are really great and really easy to see, which you couldn't always say when we lived in Essex. And the cardiac unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is really good, the nurse there couldn't have been nicer when I was in.

    I am sure that it's really about individual experiences, and you can have bad ones just as easily in England (you certainly have!). I just think all of the politically-motivated panic must be making other people worry a huge amount, if it's beginning to get to me! Take care,


  • Not that it's anything to do with Wales particularly, but I've just requested a copy of this from the library:


  • Sounds scary... There have been a few scandals recently, sadly!


  • I am also from North Wales and when I had my episodes of AF I was taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd.

    Eventually I asked my consultant if he could refer me to Liverpool Heart & Chest for an ablation. This was back in February of this year and since then I have had my ablation (end of Sept) and am currently recovering well. They have also put me on NOACSs (Dabigatran).

    So if you live in Wales you have every right to ask to be referred to L'pool or any other hospital in England and they will put you on the best anti-coagulants for you.

    I hope this helps.

  • That's really good to know Carl, thank you. That cheers me up no end! I will remember I have the right to ask for the best treatment!


  • My experience is exactly the same as Carl re ablation in Liverpool and now on dabigatran. As I live in Flintshire I see a Cardiologist, Dr M. Shah, at Glan Clwyd. He is first class and he refered me to the EP in Liverpool.

    I could write a book about the deficiencies in the clerical department at GC but by contrast Broadgreen is excellent. Since the Welsh Assembly abolished car parking charges in their hospitals it is IMPOSSIBLE to park.

    The whole of the NHS would be improved if they stopped treating drunks and pandering to people who fancy bigger boobs.

  • Very true... I can't remember the name of my cardiologist, I'm sure it wasn't Dr Shah, but he was very nice and spent ages explaining everything. Glan Clwyd car park gets stuffed too, and I think it was telling that it was virtually empty the day of the Royal Wedding... People nursing hangovers at home I guess! And yes, I am not sure why bigger boobs are an NHS priority either!


  • I understand that more money is spent on boob enhancement and cures for impotency than alzheimers research so that in twenty years the world will be full of people with huge boobs, rampant d---s ----and no idea what to do with them.


  • Bob, that's brilliant.

    Last night Radio4 were featuring the dangers of smoking. They interviewed several people puffing on fags outside a hospital. One woman declared " I like smoking. I buy cigarettes with my own money so it's nothing to do with anyone."

    I wished that the interviewer had asked her who did she think was going to have to pay to treat her lung cancer..

    I helped in the tea bar at our local hospital last week. I saw huge numbers of whole families waddling in. I could not believe how fat some of them were and they seemed to have no understanding of the health implications!

  • Hahaha, exactly Bob, very well put... There are some very topsy-turvy priorities, that's for sure. If having AF made your 'bits' shrink then I am guessing there would be a real panic about finding ways to cure it!


  • That did make me laugh


  • we aim to please.

  • To be honest I have always thought to have one part of the country doing

    this and the other part doing that it was never going to please everybody.

    I have always thought of us as part of the same country why try and split

    things us up. It was said when Scotland went for the referendum that if

    they were sucessful Wales would be next. I have very good friends in

    Scotland and as it happened they wanted to stay together but she said

    lots of the Yes es feel remote from the English parliment, funny thing

    is we live in Noth Yorkshire and we do. I think thats why you are in the

    position you are you are supposed to feel better because these decisions

    are made at local level but if you feel like that its not working.

    I thought everyone could have whichever anti coagulant they needed

    Im sure someone wrote something about that a couple of weeks ago

    and I also thought you can go to any hospital for treatment but maybe

    thats us and not you. Havent some people mucked the whole thing

    up if thats supposed to make things Ill eat my hat.

    Got that off my chest then Shirley.

  • I believe there was a poll in Wales and about 5% of people said they wanted independence, so that's one referendum we're not having, thank goodness... I think that having all these separate bits and pieces has created a lot of confusion - who is responsible for what? I'm really not sure. I see things in the papers and I think, does that affect us or just England? If one part of the country is getting worse service in some respects that doesn't seem right at all. Total muck-up, if I can say that. I'll join you in eating that hat I think...!


  • I live an hour from London and still feel remote from the Westminster parliament!


  • I have a feeling that if you lived ten feet away you'd still feel remote from it Peter! :D


  • I'm sure you can be referred to the Consultant of your choice in the NHS......although I confess I dont know the rules and regs in Wales.....not really paid that much attention............as I've said in other posts people came from all over to LHCH when I worked there back in 2011/12 even as far as the Isle of Man, so Wales is no problem I should imagine its the same across the board so check it out and ask to be referred to LHCH!

  • Thanks Loo, I will do! How are you?


  • Am doing great Lis thanks !

  • My situation is different as I live just a ten minute drive from University Hospital, Cardiff where parking isn't really too much of an issue. Therefore, speak as you find, and, having needed the NHS this year more than at any time in my life so far, I have few complaints about treatment in Wales.

    Occasionally I get the feeling that the the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing in Welsh healthcare and I've been surprised that one department wasn't aware of what another one had been doing, but it's not had any serous repercussions as far as my treatment goes and I would guess that this is not a problem exclusive to Wales.

    There seems to be plenty of evidence out there that NHS Wales is slightly less effective and efficient than the NHS in the other three countries in the UK, but I also get the feeling that it's often used as a political football by politicians trying to score petty points over other parties - as I say, I've very few issues with the way I have been treated by NHS Wales in recent months.

  • Thanks Tobw, it's good to know your treatment has been fine. I think it's true, there are problems everywhere and the Welsh NHS probably are a bit less efficient and focused, but a lot of what's going on is political I think... I've no complaints myself...


  • You're right about left and right hands, Tobw. Up here in Cumbria I once cut my hand significantly and broke a bone in it too and had the fractures clinic expressing surprise that it hadn't been stitched in A & E a few days earlier and A & E (had to go back there for a tetanus jab, all of 10 yards from the fractures clinic) expressing surprise that I'd been sent away unplastered.

  • That's amazing... Or possibly I shouldn't be astonished!

  • I would have been less amazed if I had been dealt with in one place to start with and subsequently attended somewhere different. But the two were cheek by jowl. Happily the nurse in A and E gave me a neat little splint that fastened with Velcro. I could wear it and feel safe and then take it off at night. For the first three days I had had plaster on and felt protected - but three days were quite long enough for it to become really boring.

  • Being plastered sure is boring... And the hospital sounds completely disorganised... But at least the A&E nurse had her head screwed on properly, thank goodness!

  • My eldest daughter lives in Mid Wales and everyone in Powys has to go to Shrewsbury or Telford (both in England) for treatment as they are the nearest and more or less only hospitals for them, unless you count the MIUs. As she lives 40 miles from Shrewsbury and has recently had to take her husband and then her son to A&E there on different occasions you can imagine how difficult and time consuming this is, especially as the hospital is so busy all the time. As for visiting family and friends on one of the wards, with a round trip of 80 miles each time, it's very hard, even more so for those who live even further away in Powys.

    Let's hope the politicians who make decisions about funding put their collective heads together and decide to inject lots more money into our beloved NHS before things get much worse. Perhaps a trip by one of them to an A&E on a Saturday night might open their eyes to the need for more resources.

  • Yes, they could do with having a look for themselves, couldn't they? One of the really big problems in Wales is the distance people have to travel to hospital, you're quite right. We are 25 miles from Bodelwyddan, where Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is - which isn't exactly close, but your daughter is very unlucky. Mid Wales in particular is very badly served for hospitals - we go there a lot for short breaks and it's so rural... I guess that the small cottage hospitals have been closed for 'efficiency'. But it's very hard on the people who live there - very hard indeed.


  • Here too in Cumbria we have distances to travel. A & E is now in Lancaster. That's 23 miles down the M6 from Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal, which is no more than a "primary care" facility. If it's anything more than simple you get sent elsewhere.

  • Goodness, live outside a city nowadays and you really don't get the services, do you? Better hope none of us need urgent care!

  • It's a worry.

  • Hi. I live about half an hour from Cardiff. Previously I lived in Lancashire. I can only say that so far the care I have received in South Wales has been much better than in lancashire. This has been particularly noticeable at G.P. level.

    I see an E.P. At the university hospital of Wales. He wanted me to try one antiarhythmic drug and if it didn't work well he advised an ablation. I am now on the waiting list for that and unfortunately can confirm that the waiting lists in Wales are indeed long!

    Even in Wales you have the right to request an E.P. from anywhere in G.B. as I understand it particularly if you have been waiting over 3 months. I have seriously considered it as cardiff is not a high turnover centre for this procedure but for better or worse I have decided to wait for Cardiff as I have built up a relationship with the team and someone on this forum posted a very encouraging report of his experience with them.

    I think you would likely be able to go to Liverpool as it would be much closer than Cardiff. Hope this is helpful. X

  • Hi Dedeottie, I'm sorry to hear that the rumours about the waiting lists are true... I hope that you get to the top of it very quickly! We are much closer to Liverpool than Cardiff and hopefully they would take that into account. I have no idea what the rules are any more, it has become very confusing, but if it's possible to see any EP of your choice that has to be a good start... Thank you! x

  • There are NHS websites that give info Lis..just type in choosing a consultant and a site should appear you can ask to be referred to Liverpool. I was referred end of March got to see Dr G beginning of June had PVI end of July and of course the other one beginning of October done and dusted within 9 months! :-)

  • Oh was your trial at Liverpool Loo? That is really good to know. I will have a look - I don't think I'm going to get referred unless my condition deteriorates, but as Bob says this condition never gets any better, does it? It sounds as if it all went very well for you, which is great :)

  • Yes Lis at LHCH under Dr Gupta's care.

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