A CWMBRAN woman has been left "in agony" and virtually housebound for nearly a year after health board delays in diagnosing and operating on one of her feet.

Sue Allen began suffering excruciating pain in her right foot, leaving her struggling to walk, in October last year, and since then she said she has been sent from doctor to doctor - one of whom she says told her there was "nothing wrong" with her foot - and faced with endless treatment delays.

In that time, the 67-year-old has struggled to walk, and until a consultant finally provided a protective boot - which turned out to be the wrong type - she had to hobble to the shops wearing a plastic bag over her bare foot.

"I've been left in agony and just left to struggle," Ms Allen told the Argus, adding that she has to take morphine every day for the pain. She added her mental health is "through the roof" and she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said the case was "not the standard of service we aim to provide".

Ms Allen also has diabetes and has had two previous operations on the same foot, and when the pain started last autumn and "very quickly got worse", she was desperate for a quick diagnosis.

But it wasn't until the following February that she was given a hospital appointment, first at the Grange University Hospital, and then, after "weeks went by", at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital.

A doctor gave her a boot to wear, but Ms Allen said he seemed more concerned with her smoking rather than her immediate pain and mobility problem.

She left hospital in tears, and weeks later, she was told by another doctor that she had been given a post-surgery boot which was unsuitable for her needs.

Free Press Series: Sue Allen from Cwmbran has been left 'in agony' for nearly a year while doctors diagnosed her foot problem and then delayed her operation.Sue Allen from Cwmbran has been left 'in agony' for nearly a year while doctors diagnosed her foot problem and then delayed her operation.

By the time she was finally told her foot problem may be related to her previous surgery, she said she was "beside myself with pain".

Originally told she would have to wait six months for the operation, the procedure was then brought forward to the end of July.

Ms Allen booked a holiday for September, thinking it would give her the chance to relax after nine turbulent months. At her pre-operation checks, she asked whether she could go ahead and book the break, and she was advised it would be fine to do so because she would have had enough time to recover after her surgery.

She was also told she'd be sent advice about taking her insulin before surgery, but when that didn't arrive, she rang the Royal Gwent the night before her operation.

"I rang the ward and a nurse said 'no beds, no op,'" Ms Allen said. Confused, she called the hospital's booking centre, which she said told her "more urgent cases" were being prioritised and confirmed no operations would be available until September.

Ms Allen has no family living nearby and relies on public transport to get around, including to her hospital appointments. She may now lose £400 if she can't take her holiday, but more importantly, lives with constant pain.

"I'm at the end of my tether," she said. "I dread opening my eyes in the morning."

The Argus contacted Aneurin Bevan University Health Board about Ms Allen's case.

In response, a health board spokesperson said: “We are sorry that Ms Allen is unhappy with her experience – this is not the standard of service we aim to provide.

“Our hospitals and wider healthcare system remain under significant pressure and Ms Allen’s operation was postponed due to a lack of available beds, caused by the increase in demand, staff sickness and shortages across health and social care.

“It’s important to note that the postponement of some routine operations is not unique to any one directorate; we are currently experiencing these issues right across our organisation, as is the case across NHS Wales and in other parts of the UK.

“We understand Ms Allen’s frustrations regarding the disruption of her holiday plans and we have been in contact with her to apologise and to discuss and resolve her concerns.”