Woman's agony as health board row blocks vital surgery

Woman suffering period pains every day is stuck waiting for surgery as rival NHS boards and Welsh government argue over who should pay for op

  • Abygail Lewis-Jones is waiting for life-changing surgery to relieve terrible pain
  • Unfortunately, she is caught in a bureaucratic nightmare within the Welsh NHS 

A woman is left in horrific pain waiting for surgery in a red tape wrangle by the Labour-run NHS over who should pay.

Abygail Lewis-Jones, 46, is caught in the middle of a bureaucratic tussle between different health boards and Mark Drakeford’s Welsh government over funding her vital surgery.

She was set to undergo a hysterectomy before surgeons opened her up to discover her cervix was stuck to her bowel.

Her surgery was abandoned because it was too complex to complete alone – and needed the input of a specialist surgeon.

Ms Lewis-Jones’ surgeon wrote to the gynaecology department at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board in South Wales saying the operation required a specialist.

Abygail Lewis-Jones, 46, was set to undergo a hysterectomy before surgeons opened her up to discover her cervix was stuck to her bowel

Now Ms Lewis-Jones is waiting for a bureaucratic row to be settled over who will fund an additional expert to assist during the complex surgery

In the letter, he said he would be able to perform the surgery with a specialist colleague in early 2022.

Ms Lewis-Jones says she was told it would need to be done at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff – but her health board will not fund the transfer.

READ MORE: Have you these signs of endometriosis? 

She said: ‘They can’t list me for my operation because my health board doesn’t transfer funding for my procedure, and this is Welsh Government level funding issue.’

Ms Lewis-Jones, of Bridgend, South Wales, was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis as well as adenomyosis – where the lining of the womb starts growing into the muscle wall of the womb.

She said: ‘It was really bad, it was like being stabbed in the stomach.’

Ms Lewis-Jones has repeatedly tried to find out what the next steps are and has even made complaints to the Patient Advisory and Liaison service.

She added: ‘I don’t know where to go now. My bowel is stuck to my cervix, so I have period pains every day.

‘It is just uncomfortable all the time. It is tiring, it limits my life and what I can do. I am just terrified of getting my period.’

A spokesperson from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: ‘We are concerned to hear about Abygail’s experience, and are in discussions with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to ensure that patients who require specialist treatment can access it.

‘As a Health Board, we are committed to investigating any issues or concerns raised by patients and their families to ensure we provide the best possible care.’

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: ‘The Welsh Government does not provide funding for individual NHS procedures.

‘The funding of procedures is the responsibility of the health boards concerned, and where required, health boards have processes in place to arrange for appropriate treatments to be delivered in other health boards.’

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