Postcode lottery leads to a lengthy wait

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A POSTCODE lottery means Wigan patients are being forced to wait three months for life-saving surgeries which Londoners can receive in just five days.

New figures show that the average waiting times for local patients who need potentially life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysms repaired or a carotid artery unblocking is 92 days.

At the St Bart’s Health Trust in east London patients can expect to undergo surgery just five days after reporting their symptoms to their doctor.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when there is a bulge in the main blood vessel from the heart to the abdomen, which can burst and cause major internal bleeding and death.

A carotid endarterectomy is an operation to widen the carotid artery in the neck to prevent strokes. Both operations are deemed relatively safe – with just three per cent of patients expected to die.

A spokeswoman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust said: “There are reviews taking place across three separate Cardiac and Stroke Networks in the North West. The aim is to reconfigure vascular surgical services and secure benefits to patients through the implementation of higher volume vascular centres of excellence and care.

“Centralisation aims to improve quality of life for vascular patients by reducing mortality, preventing rupture, preserving limbs and preventing exacerbations of vascular problems by achieving the earliest possible specialist intervention.”

In a bid to introduce more transparency into the NHS, a table showing the death rates of patients operated on by some of Wigan’s top surgeons has also been published.

Three top Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust consultants – Mr Mohideen Jameel, Mr John Mosley and Mr Ramanathan Shivalingam – all feature in the table.

The mortality rate and rate of subsequent complications of patients of all three surgeons was broadly in line with scores of other consultants across the country.