NO solution has yet been found for Bolton patients travelling to Leeds for a specialist reconstruction procedure.

Mastectomy patients in Greater Manchester would normally go to Wythenshawe Hospital for deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction procedure.

However long waiting lists meant the hospital had to stop accepting Bolton referrals, the nearest hospital which would accept patients was in Leeds.

Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has asked for an “urgent resolution” to the situation.

A report presented to the CCG board by Melissa Maguinness, director of service transformation, said: “Bolton FT have to date referred four patients to Leeds Teaching Hospitals for the procedure in the interim, however due to limited capacity at Leeds this is no longer a viable option.”

However, a spokesperson for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “The deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction procedure continues to be offered in Leeds.

“We are accepting referrals from Bolton hospital due to the service not being available in hospitals local to them. Our management team are working with the team in Bolton to continue with this as agreed until the local situation changes.”

The matter has been escalated by the CCG and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust within the Greater Manchester healthcare systems ­— to the Cancer Board and the Health and Social Care Partnership ­— to find a regional solution to the capacity problems.

Dr Richard Preece, executive lead for quality at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We are aware of an issue with the provision of very specialist DIEP reconstructive surgery for a small number of women in Greater Manchester.

"This is due to an increase in demand which has been experienced nationally putting pressure on the limited capacity available.

"We are committed to sourcing sufficient provision for women for whom this is the most suitable procedure and apologise to those who are having to wait longer than we would like at this time.”