A GWENT man who had a potentially life-saving operation cancelled four times is today undergoing surgery.

As the Argus revealed on Monday, David Thompson was originally told he could not undergo surgery for a tumour on his pancreas until the new year.

But he was contacted by health chiefs yesterday to say he could immediately have the operation at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport.

And his wife Viviennne thanked the Argus for highlighting her husband's plight. She said: "I would like to say thank you very much to the Argus because all the attention definitely made a difference - there was no way David would have had the operation until the new year otherwise."

Mr Thompson, 58, of Heol Madoc, New Inn, was undergoing surgery today which will determine whether a tumour on his pancreas is malignant or not.

His operations on Dec-ember 5, 9, 11, and the 12 were cancelled. A hospital spokesman said at the time: "Cancelling operations is always something we prefer not to do, but sometimes it's inevitable with the increasing demands of emergency pressures on resources."

Mrs Thompson, 57, said: "We got the call from the hospital just after 9am yesterday morning saying they could operate on him the following day. We just went straight down there because although David is very apprehensive about the operation, we didn't want to be hanging around over Christmas.

She added: "What gets me is that they could find a bed for my husband now yet they couldn't before on four previous occasions."

Mr Thompson was having the pancreatic duodectomy at 8.30am. The procedure lasts between five to eight hours and will determine whether the growth will require chemotherapy or not.

Mr Thompson first became yellow and jaundiced while on holiday in Majorca in October. His doctor advised immediate hospital treatment and subsequent tests found a tumour on his pancreas.

Mrs Thompson said: "We are absolutely over the moon that he can finally have the operation but we are keeping our fingers crossed now that we get a good outcome."

PICTURED: David Thompson with his wife Vivienne.