ARFON AM Sian Gwenllian has criticised waiting times for orthopaedic patients in north Wales, claiming that some are being left to "struggle with the pain."

Ms. Gwenllian has called the situation "totally unacceptable" as some patients are having to travel to England for treatment, whilst other have had operations cancelled or moved numerous times.

Figures from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have shown that waiting times have increased by 57% up to March this year.

"This is something that comes up time and again with people who come to my advice surgeries," Ms. Gwenllian said.

“I have raised the matter with the health board and with Vaughan Gething (Welsh Government Health Secretary) as the situation for many patients in this area is totally unacceptable.

"People struggle on in pain for far too long and have to travel to appointments at hospitals in England, which is not always a viable option."

Arfon's Assembly Member added that she is currently talking to a number of constituents about the matter, icluding two who are awaiting a new hip and have had their pre-op appointments cancelled.

"A constituent was seen by a specialist in Bangor and was told that she would have to wait between 12-18 months for her new hip," Ms. Gwenllian said.

"During that waiting time, she was offered the operation in a hospital in Crewe and accepted the offer, travelling back and forth to Crewe to see the consultant there.

"But she never received a pre-op appointment nor a date for the operation and she says that she was told by staff that this was due to too many orthopaedic referrals being made by Bangor to Crewe, making it difficult for them to meet the demand."

The number of orthopaedic and trauma patients waiting more than nine months for treatment has risen by 57% since the health board was put into special measures, with dozens left struggling for more than two years.

Siân Gwenllian added: "I have contacted the health board on several occasions to enquire after individual cases that have come to my attention and I have been given reassurances that the long waiting times are being tackled.

"But the patients I speak to are not reporting any signs of an improved service. It is imperative that measures are put in place immediately so that patients can move on with their treatment sooner and locally."