A distraught wife says her husband faces losing both his legs due to flawed restructuring by a health board.
Betsi Cadwaladr health board centralised vascular services at Glan Clwyd hospital in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, in April 2019.
However, it was divisive and resulted in several high-profile resignations.
According to the health board, it is “committed to providing a stable, high-quality vascular service for north Wales.”
It claims that it has “invested £2.3 million in a state-of-the-art hybrid vascular theatre” at Glan Clwyd hospital.
Arfon MP Sian Gwenllian called for the overhaul of vascular services to be reversed earlier this year.
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The vascular system is made up of arteries and veins, and is the body’s way of circulating blood between the heart and different organs.
Esyllt Calley from Llanllyfni, Gwynedd, is adamant that removing specialist services from her local hospital in Bangor has been detrimental to patients like her husband.
Since 2019, people from around north Wales have had to travel to access a centralised vascular service in Bodelwyddan.
Pete Calley, 51, is a patient at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, awaiting an operation to amputate his second leg due to complications from diabetes, which he has had for 22 years.
Six years ago, he had his toes amputated at Glan Clwyd hospital, but Mrs Calley claims the surgery was botched, resulting in a second operation and months of rehabilitation.
He returned to Glan Clwyd 18 months ago in need of a leg amputation. Mrs. Calley stated that they needed to operate three times in a week.
‘I feel I’ve lost the man I married’
Mrs Calley claims her husband now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of several operations at the Glan Clwyd site, where vascular services are now centralised. He refuses to return to the hospital for treatment.
“He’s been severely impacted. The mere mention of the name ‘Glan Clwyd’ causes him to panic. I feel like I’ve let go of the man I married. “I adore my husband, but he has evolved.”
She stated that the Betsi Cadwaladr health board had now agreed to pay for his treatment at a Liverpool hospital.
Mrs Calley, who was in tears, was adamant that the restructuring of vascular services in north Wales had harmed her husband’s health.
“I’m sure Pete would still be walking if it hadn’t been for Glan Clwyd.” “And he wouldn’t be a double amputee,” she added.
“Within two years of receiving treatment at Glan Clwyd’s vascular unit, he is on the verge of becoming a double amputee.” He only lost two toes during his six-year stay at Ysbyty Gwynedd.
“I just don’t understand why they moved such a good unit.”
Professor Dean Williams, who stepped down as head of the vascular unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd in 2019, said he was proud to have contributed to the hospital’s development of a world-class limb salvage unit.
He stated that despite centralisation at Glan Clwyd, he had received assurances from senior staff at Betsi Cadwaladr health board that this service would remain at the Bangor site.
“When the centralisation was approved, all major vascular surgery and emergency admissions were moved out of Bangor,” Prof Williams explained.
“It was and still is difficult to witness agreements being thrown away, a world-class service being dismantled, and then the predicted consequences of that decision unfolding in front of us.”
Bethan Russell-Williams, an independent board member at Betsi Cadwaladr, also resigned in protest of the plans to reform vascular services, saying she had no regrets.
“Patient outcomes are significantly worse now than when services were available at Ysbyty Gwynedd,” she said.
“More patients are having major lower limb amputations, and a greater number of patients are dying as a result of major lower limb amputations.”
Dr Nick Lyons, executive medical director of Betsi Cadwaladr, responded to the allegations, saying, “Even in this large health board area, we do not have the volume of complex vascular cases for teams to keep their skills and expertise up at each of the three acute hospitals.”
Dr. Lyons stated that a Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) review conducted last year discovered “that the service has a robust surgical on-call arrangement and appropriate pathways for emergency and complex vascular intervention.”
“The RCS noted that everyone involved is committed to improving the service, and that ‘an excellent foundation’ is in place to continue the development and improvement of the vascular service in north Wales,” he added.