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THERE IS something very wrong with our National Health Service when a patient in pain is expected to have to wait nine months for treatment.

Whatever the causes of the delay, it is surely not right that an 85-year-old man who needs to have an infected wisdom tooth taken out in hospital is told to expect such a lengthy wait.

But that is exactly what has happened to war veteran Charles Christmas from Abergavenny.

He could of course have the treatment privately, but at £2,000 that is not really an option for the man who served 22 years in the Fleet Air Arm in the Royal Navy.

Nor should it have to be an option for someone who has served his country and paid into the National Health Service over many years.

There does not appear yet to be a real explanation for the wait other than the fact that it is because Mr Christmas needs to have the tooth removed in hospital rather than at a dental surgery.

We realise our NHS is under increasing pressures caused by ever-growing demand.

We also realise that in the greater scheme of things, the operation Mr Christmas needs may not be as serious or pressing as some others.

But nine months is an awfully long time to wait when you are in constant pain.

We urge Aneurin Bevan Health Board to see if there is some way to expedite this case and end this pain.