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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK
Anger at five-year treatment wait
By Hywel Griffith
BBC Wales health correspondent

Bernadette Farrell-John and son Conor
Bernadette Farrell-John walks with a stick due to her pelvic condition
A mother with a rare pelvic condition says she has spent five years awaiting treatment on different waiting lists.

Bernadette Farrell-John developed Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) during pregnancy in 2001.

Mrs Farrell-John said although doctors quickly diagnosed her condition, she has been transferred to different hospitals several times.

Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust said long waits for first orthopaedic outpatient appointments "are a thing of the past".

SPD effects around 30% of women during pregnancy, but only 4% of mothers continue to have problems after delivery.

Khitish Mohanty
Mrs Farrell-John is due to be treated by Khitish Mohanty

Mrs Farrell-John, from Bridgend, developed the condition during pregnancy, but after delivery she was left with a larger than normal gap in the front main pelvic joint which is yet to heal.

During the first years of motherhood, she said she depended on a wheelchair and crutches for mobility and still needs a walking stick in order to walk.

Although difficulties were recognised by doctors at the University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, in 2001, she said she has suffered frustrating delays.

She said: "Medical records and X-rays got lost between one hospital and another and there were long delays.

"Subsequently I was told I would go on a waiting list which included a waiting list. Some time later it was discovered that I wasn't on a waiting list at all."

Mrs Farrell-John was referred from Cardiff to doctors in her home area of Bridgend, but after time spent on each waiting list, was later referred back to specialists at Llandough Hospital, near Cardiff.

She added: "I'm extremely fed up - I'm still in my working years.

Before Conor was born she was always fairly active, but she's not been able to do the normal things that a mother would do like taking Conor out in a pushchair
Roger John

"This has made me unfit to return to the previous job I was in before and I'm eager to get back to work and be independent."

Her husband, Roger John, said: "Before Conor was born she was always fairly active, but she's not been able to do the normal things that a mother would do like taking Conor out in a pushchair.

"Driving him to places was completely out of the question for her in the first two years.

"Even after that, she needed help getting him in and out of the car, because bending, lifting and carrying wasn't possible in her condition."

Mrs Farrell-John said only a chance discussion with another patient in 2005 led her to seek treatment from Khitish Mohanty - one of few surgeons in Wales with expertise in treating SPD in mothers after delivery.

She is now on a waiting list of up to 12 months to be treated by Mr Mohanty at Llandough Hospital.

Mr Mohanty said: "I'm hoping to stabilise and fuse her pelvis both in the front and back - hopefully she'll be able to walk again unaided."

A statement from Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, one of the two to deal with Mrs Farrell-John, said: "We are pleased to say that long waits for patients' first orthopaedic outpatient appointments are a thing of the past."

It added that waiting times had been reduced from more than four years to a current maximum of 12 months, with the aim to reduce waits further.


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