* Former councillor Stuart Davies.
The Llangollen man who spearheaded a campaign for men across Wales to have equal access to a prostate cancer scan now claims the local health board is making it difficult to receive it.
Former town mayor and county councillor Stuart Davies, 71, paid Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) nearly £900 for a multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) scan when a cancer that he'd beaten several years ago returned in 2017.
The mpMRI is a specific type of investigation that can give more detailed images of the prostate than a regular MRI scan and was recommended to Mr Davies by the health board as a way of specifically deciding upon the correct treatment for his cancer.
But after receiving the scan he was shocked to learn that it is offered for free by other health boards in Wales.
He organised a petition, which attracted over 6,000 signatures, demanding equal access to the scan across Wales and sparked a discussion in the Senedd in Cardiff, Shortly afterwards Mr Davies marched on the capital, joined by fellow campaigners.
Before the petition was launched, just three of the seven health boards in Wales, offered mpMRI before biopsy and only one board provided it to a standard high enough to safely rule men out of biopsy.
This meant men in four health boards did not have access to mpMRI as a diagnostic test, unless they paid to have it done privately.
Mr Davies’s own health authority, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, recently wrote to inform him that the new mpMRI scanning service has now been implemented in north Wales.
But Mr Davies now claims some men in the region are being refused the scan while the health board is refusing to refund those who have paid for it to be done.
He said: “Men are still contacting me to say that the Betsi is making it difficult to get this scan and are now refusing refunds.”
His claim comes in correspondence he’s had with the Petitions Committee of the Welsh Assembly, which has agreed to consider his petition at its next meeting on December 3.
He has also submitted letters in support of his campaign from leading cancer charities.
He wrote to the Petitions Committee: “My thanks to the committee for continuing to support our petition.
“It is interesting to see that Cancer Research Wales is supporting our stance in that while some boards are implementing this measure that the private sector and or other boards should provide these.
“Given that the private sector charges roughly £900 to the public and yet only £360 trade price to the NHS it seems stupid that the NHS is ‘forcing’ patients to pay privately and then refund them when it would be £600 cheaper to do it directly.”
A statement from the Betsi Cadwaladr UHB says: “Following considerable efforts over recent months we are now at a point to begin accepting referrals for pre-biopsy mp-MRI scans.
"This will enable a proportion of gentlemen to avoid an invasive biopsy procedure."
A board spokesman added that if anyone who has a complaint to make relating to refunds can do so through our complaints process here: https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/contact-us/make-a-complaint/”