Referral to treatment time
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Mr Y complained that following 2 urgent referrals to the Health Board’s Urology Department from his GP in March 2021, the Health Board did not grade his referrals as Urgent Suspected Cancer (“USC”). He said that he contacted the Health Board’s appointments line and was told that he would face about a year’s wait for an appointment with a urologist. Mr Y felt he had no choice but to seek a private appointment as he was concerned about the waiting time he was quoted for an appointment. Mr Y was subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2021 and was referred back to the NHS for treatment. In making his complaint, Mr Y was seeking a refund of his private consultation fee and for the Health Board to review its procedures in relation to USC.
The Ombudsman was satisfied that the action agreed by the Health Board in relation to 2 recent public interest reports he issued meant that it was not proportionate to investigate Mr Y’s concerns about the way the Health Board dealt with the triage of his GP referrals. In terms of the information provided to Mr Y about the waiting time for an appointment with a urologist, the Health Board had identified that a timeframe for appointments should be documented on triage forms to highlight this information to the patient booking team. Had this been done when Mr Y’s GP referrals were triaged, he may have been reassured, when contacting the appointment line that there was a specific timescale for when he would receive an appointment.
The Health Board agreed to take the following action to resolve Mr Y’s complaint. It agreed to apologise, reimburse Mr Y the cost of his private consultation appointment, and advise the Urology Department that triage referrals should now document timeframes for appointments.