Wales politics

Brynle Williams: Inquest hears of delayed cancer diagnosis

Brynle Williams
Image caption Brynle Williams was elected an AM in 2003

An assembly member may have lived longer but for a five month delay in his cancer diagnosis, a coroner has said.

John Gittins said Brynle Williams, 62, "would have been disappointed that the NHS he championed failed to give him a gold standard of care".

A narrative inquest verdict was recorded on his death from colon cancer last April.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board apologised to his family.

Acting North East Wales Coroner Mr Gittins said Mr Williams, who was a North Wales regional AM until his death, was "a man who despite being in the public eye, wouldn't have wanted all this fuss".

He added that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board had learnt some lessons from the case.

Mr Gittins said Mr Williams might have lived longer but not necessarily have been cured.

He died of colon cancer but an inquest into his death was told that in April 2010 he was only diagnosed with a bowel condition called ulcerative colitis.

A senior doctor from the health board said that diagnosis stopped staff from realising Mr Williams had cancer, until this was confirmed in the September.

In a statement the health board extended its deepest condolences to Mr Williams' family for their loss.

"As this case is subject to legal action we are unable to make any detailed comment," said the board.

"However, the coroner has identified some shortfalls in the standard of care given to Mr Williams and we offer our sincere apologies to the family for this."

Mr Williams, a sheep and cattle farmer, was an expert in Welsh cobs and a member of the council of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society.


A leading campaigner at the 1997 protest against the importation of beef at Holyhead, he came to public prominence leading fuel protests in September 2000.

Mr Williams took a convoy of hauliers and farmers to Britain's largest refinery after a meeting at the cattle mart in St Asaph to discuss rising prices at the pumps.

At its height, hundreds of people joined the week-long protest, sparking blockades at other sites around the country and almost bringing the country to a standstill.

Mr Williams was elected to the assembly as a Conservative regional AM for north Wales in 2003 having stood as a candidate in Clwyd West.

He was re-elected in 2007 and appointed as the Tories' shadow rural affairs minister.

After his death Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Carwyn Jones were among those who paid tribute to him.

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