Some patients from south Wales who need a heart operation may go under the knife in Stoke to keep waiting times down.
Clinicians are in discussions with the Royal Stoke University Hospital about the possibility of some Cardiff and Vale University Health Board patients heading up the M5 for surgery.
But it’s still early days, said the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC), which helps plan specialised services for patients and is behind the cross-border cardiac discussions.
A WHSSC spokeswoman said: “Suitable patients will be identified by their heart surgeon and cardiologist and the option discussed with patients before any decision is made.
“At this point, therefore, we are not able to confirm numbers as no decisions have been made and no patients contacted.”
Stoke is 150 miles from Cardiff – but it’s not unheard of for surgeons in England to treat patients from Wales. Many children from south Wales with cardiac conditions are treated at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Meanwhile, a paper before Swansea Bay University Health Board at its latest meeting said Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital had agreed to take on some cardiac surgery cases from the Swansea Bay area as well as from Cardiff and Vale.
But WHSSC said it did not intend to take up the Liverpool offer at the moment.
It said: “Swansea Bay (UHB) has developed robust plans to ensure that no patient will be waiting longer than 36 weeks for heart surgery by the end of March 2020, so at this point we are not seeking an outsourcing option for patients.”
WHSSC said it outsourced cardiac surgery cases from Wales to Royal Stoke University Hospital in 2010 and 2015.
A Cadiff and Vale University Health Board spokesman said: “We have nothing further to add to the comment that WHSSC provided.”