Our campaign to get life saving treatment available in Wales.

As reported on our home page, Radio Frequency ablation is now available in Wales thanks to the hard work of our chair and vice chair with assistance from local health authorities, the Welsh Senydd, Medtronic and many others.

Previously this treatment that can potentially save lives by removing dysplastic Barrett's before it develops into cancer, was not available in Wales requiring patients be sent to Gloucester.

A campaign of letters from Barrett's Wessex members to their Welsh Assembly representatives and meetings with the deputy chief medical officer for wales, Dr Chris Jones, was followed by a roundtable breakfast meeting at the Welsh Assembly Ty Hywel building on 27 June 2018 attended by

Dr Dai Lloyd, AM chairing (DL)

Rhun ap lorweth, AM (RL)

Mike Hedges, AM (MH)

Dr Sunil Dolwani, consultant gastroenterologist (SD)

David Chapman, consultant (DC)

Mark Baird, chair of Barrett’s Wales (MB)

Tom Parry Davies, vice chair of Barrett’s Wales (TD)

Chris Robinson (former chair of Barrett’s Wessex) (CR)

(A record of that meeting may be downloaded at the foot of this page.)

The meeting was extremely positive with the outcome that it is possible three RFA treatment centres could be established by the end of the current financial year based in SE Wales, SW Wales and North Wales.

That afternoon, Rhun ap lorwerth raised a question at the health plenary in the Sennedd which may be seen on this video and transcribed below:

Rhun ap Iorwerth AC

Cabinet Secretary, I met this morning with a group concerned with Barrett's oesophagus, which is a condition that, left untreated, can lead to cancer. But it's possible to use a treatment called radio frequency ablation to treat this, before it leads to cancer. In fact, it is clinically proven and its cost benefits are very, very clear. But Wales doesn't have this service, so patients have to go to England. Now, costs for providing treatment in England, paid for by the Welsh NHS, have increased dramatically in the past year—increased by something like 150 per cent. So, the lack of access to this technology in Wales is costing the NHS here more and more. Can you tell me what the barrier is to preventing that service being provided in Wales? And can you report back to me and the Assembly on work being done to introduce RFA treatment in Wales as quickly as possible? 106

Vaughan Gething AC

Yes, I'm happy to respond on this. I've actually had direct correspondence from one of my constituents on this matter, as indeed from a wider interest group, and, coincidentally, this Saturday, in Margam, I had the pleasure of meeting people from the Bangladeshi Gastroenterology Association. I also met the president of the British Gastroenterology Association, who said he was imminently due to write to me on this very issue. Because I do recognise that there is a NICE recommended treatment available that we currently commission over our border, in particular in south Wales. We do now think that we could and should be able to provide the service here in Wales. Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board are leading work on that to provide that service. I'll be happy to provide an update to Members in the future on where that is to be clearer about the timescales for doing so, but I do expect us to make that treatment properly available, as the evidence suggests, and to make it available here in Wales, as opposed to continuing to have to commission a service across our border.

13 April 2019 article from Western Mail. (Click on image to enlarge article.)

"In the Assembly, Dai Lloyd AM has voiced concerns about Barrett’s oesophagus patients having to make trips to England for monitoring and treatments.”

18 June 2019 "The lifesaving treatment available in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland but not Wales" (Wales Online)

David Evans, who has Barrett's oesophagus, has had to travel into England to receive treatment to stop him getting cancer

Dr Hasan Haboubi, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Clinical Lead for South Wales Barrett’s RFA Service, and his colleagues

People in Wales can be treated closer to home for treatment that can minimise the risk of oesophageal cancer, thanks to the introduction of the South Wales Barrett’s Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Service.

The South Wales Barrett’s RFA service, which started in May 2020 and is housed within Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, has already seen 30 referrals to date; all of which have developed consequences of long term Barrett’s oesophagus.