October 3, 2008

NHS Patients Head for Private Hospital

THE NHS will pay for 200 orthopaedic patients to be treated at a private hospital to ease waiting list pressures at Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.

Cardiff Local Health Board has signed a contract for spinal, foot and ankle patients to be treated at St Joseph's Hospital in Newport.

The LHB was forced to resurrect the second offer scheme after orthopaedic waiting lists spiralled out of control at Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.

There were more than 700 patients waiting for trauma and orthopaedic inpatient treatment at the trust at the end of August.

The trust was criticised by Health Minister Edwina Hart in July when she ordered it to review waiting list management and the board itself.

Sian Richards, chief executive of Cardiff LHB, said: "Cardiff LHB wants all patients to receive their treatment promptly and in line with the Welsh Assembly Government's waiting time targets.

"I know many patients have been waiting too long for these operations, often having to suffer pain and discomfort.

"By agreeing for NHS patients to be treated at St Joseph's Hospital, more patients can be treated sooner."

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