§ 9. Mr. Gareth Wardell
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give, for the latest available date, the total number of patients that have been treated at the specialist treatment centre for cataract surgery at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor; and if he will separately distinguish by health authority the percentage of those patients whose residence is outside the Gwynedd health authority area.
§ Mr. Nicholas Bennett
At 31 March 1991, a total of 306 patients had received treatment at the ophthalmic treatment centre at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor. The percentage of outside referrals by district health authority were: Mid Glamorgan 2.6 per cent., West Glamorgan 1.0 per cent., Gwent 0.7 per cent., South Glamorgan 0.3 per cent., Powys 2.9 per cent., giving a total of 7.5 per cent.
§ Mr. Wardell
Will the Minister confirm that on 30 September last year 566 patients were waiting for non-urgent treatment as in-patients in Gwynedd, of whom 89 had been waiting for more than a year? At Singleton hospital in Swansea, the numbers of people who were 592 waiting totalled 1,345 and 476 respectively. Can the Minister tell the House what he and his officials have been doing to demonstrate that it was not an utter sham that only 23 people outside Gwynedd health authority were treated at the all-Wales regional centre for cataract surgery between 1 September 1990 and the end of March this year? What does the Minister have to say about that? What monitoring did his Department undertake? Is that really an all-Wales centre? Is not that situation an absolute scandal?
§ Mr. Bennett
The original contract with the treatment centre provided for 80 per cent. of patients to come from Gwynedd and 20 per cent. from outside. I am sorry that it has not reached the target of 20 per cent. for patients from outside Gwynedd health authority. Because of the transport arrangements between Bangor and the rest of Wales, I thought it important that we should establish another treatment centre in south Wales, at Bridgend, which will help people in that area to reach the treatment centre more quickly. I take the hon. Gentleman's point. I am keen to see the treatment centres used as much as possible, and I welcome the opportunity provided by this question to say that anyone who has a problem with receiving treatment for their cataracts, and who has waited for more than four months, is entitled to apply to go to the treatment centre.