Published: 30/01/2003, Volume II3, No. 5840 Page 8

The NHS in Wales is due to deliver the results of a major investigation into the provision of plastic surgery following revelations that some patients are having to wait up to 10 years for surgery.

The review, which started in March 2002, followed reports last year that some patients at the Morriston Hospital in Swansea were waiting up to 200 weeks for an outpatient appointment and a further eight years for surgery.

The majority of the long delays concerned children who needed surgery to conceal scars or on ears that stick out.

Director of the specialised health commission for Wales Dr Gillian Todd said that the plastic surgery review was one of a series of reviews of all specialisms across the country which would inform strategic planning and lead to a major injection of cash into the NHS in Wales.

She said that some people were still experiencing long delays but that a major report due out in spring would form the basis of an eight-year plan to inject new money and staff into burns and plastic surgery in Wales.

'There are still long delays for outpatient [appointments] and even longer ones for inpatients.

We have finished our report on plastic surgery in south Wales and will have the report on north Wales finished by Easter when they will be put together and published, ' she said.

Dr Todd said she wanted to emphasise that emergency services and surgery for those with serious trauma or needing reconstructive surgery after breast cancer were being given priority.

She said the Morriston Hospital's plastics unit had treated the victims of the explosion and fire at the Corus steelworks in Port Talbot which injured 12 workers and killed three in November 2001.

'These people are highly professional and extremely skilled but we recognise that we need to increase the number of specialist consultants and nurses and increase resources.'