A LLANELLI man suffered an "agonising" 100-mile round trip to Withybush Hospital — for a three-minute appointment.
Paul Price, 65, has rapped Hywel Dda Health Board after he travelled from his home in Station Road, Bynea, to Haverfordwest, only to be told a scan had found nothing wrong.
The former nurse underwent an operation two months ago to treat a slipped disc and said he was given the choice of having the procedure at Morriston Hospital, which had a year-long waiting list.
But he instead opted for Withybush Hospital, where there was just a six-month wait.
After surgery, Mr Price was able to return home, but weeks later was still in agony.
He said: "I had the operation and this is where it got expensive. My wife can't drive so she had to stay in a hotel overnight. When I had to come back it was a very painful journey. That was in a friend's car, and it was agony.
"For the first couple of days, the pain settled down. Then on the third day it kicked in terribly."
Three weeks after the operation, Mr Price went back to the hospital and was told he needed an MRI scan.
He said because his case was considered to be an emergency, the scan was carried out that day at Prince Philip Hospital.
But several weeks later, he had not received the results.
"I waited and heard nothing, so I thought they hadn't found anything and it was fine," he said. "But the pain wasn't going away so I phoned up and they said they hadn't had my results.
"Then the next day they phoned me back and said they had my results but the doctor wanted to see me as soon as possible in outpatients. I asked her if I really had to come down to Withybush and she said they wouldn't offer me an outpatients appointment if it wasn't absolutely necessary."
But after another trip to Haverfordwest — again getting a lift — Mr Price was told the scan had revealed nothing.
"I found out in three minutes flat," he said. "No one could find anything wrong. Another 104- mile round trip, totally wasted."
A spokeswoman for Hywel Dda Health Board said: "Spinal surgery is a highly specialist area and the health board is fortunate to have one orthopaedic surgeon with a specialist interest in spinal surgery who is based at Withybush Hospital, but provides a service for the whole of the health board.
"We strive to provide the best care possible to each and every patient and where a specialist thinks it is in the best interests of the patient for them to be seen this will be provided."