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Mr D complained about the care and treatment he received from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board following his referral to its Urology Service. Mr D, who was subsequently diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, complained that there were excessive delays in:

• Conducting diagnostic investigations

• Scheduling appropriate surgery following his diagnosis

• Arranging post-surgical radiotherapy.

Mr D also complained about numerous communication failings and about the Health Board’s handling of his complaints about these matters.

The Ombudsman did not find that Mr D’s post-operative radiotherapy was delayed but did find that there were excessive delays in conducting diagnostic investigations and in the scheduling Mr D’s surgery. The Ombudsman also upheld Mr D’s complaint about communication failings and the Health Board’s handling of his complaint.

The Ombudsman recommended that:

a) The Health Board provides Mr D with a fulsome written apology.

b) The Health Board, in recognition of these failings and of the distress caused to Mr D, makes a payment to him of £3,500.

c) The Health Board urgently reviews its capacity to provide or to commission template biopsies within 31 days of referral.

d) The Health Board provides the Ombudsman with an account of how decisions taken at cancer care MDTs are coordinated and disseminated.

e) The Health Board shares this report with the Concerns Team and draws to their attention the complaint handling failings identified.

f) The Health Board undertakes a detailed review of its Urology Service’s compliance with the Welsh Government’s Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer. This review should refer to:

• Action taken in response to the increasing demand for radiotherapy.

• Action taken to reduce the backlog of Urology follow-up waiting lists.

• Action taken to increase administrative support for Consultant Urologists.

• Whether referrals from the pan-North Wales MDT to Merseyside has improved patient pathways in the treatment of urological cancer.

The Health Board agreed to implement these recommendations.

A full copy of the report is available below.