HYWEL DDA Health Board has apologised for failures in the care of a well-known retired motor trader who died after surgery at Withybush Hospital in June last year.

The family of Malcolm Green MBE called for an investigation after the 82-year-old died following treatment for cancer.

Withybush Hospital bosses admitted “avoidable and unacceptable delays” to the surgery, prior to the charity fundraiser’s death and a health board investigation found there were failures.

A letter of apology was sent to Mr Green’s widow, Janet, at the request of his sons John and Martin, but the family say this has been a cause of further distress.

The family say the letter showed insensitivity and “institutional complacency” as it was not signed by the chief executive Trevor Purt himself, but on his behalf by a member of his office.

The letter to Mrs Green states: “I very much regret that the Health Board failed to respond to your husband’s deteriorating condition and that there was an unacceptable delay in performing the surgery.

“I am so sorry for these failings and for the devastating outcome that this has had on you and your family. A number of recommended actions are being undertaken, which will be shared across the Health Board.”

Mr Green’s son John said: “Our issue is that this letter, which was so important to our mum, a personal letter which should help move this sad incident nearer to closure, was not signed by Trevor Purt. No chief executive can be too busy to sign a letter.”

A Hywel Dda Health Board spokesman said: “Mr Purt and the Health Board sincerely apologises to the family of Mr Green and offer deepest sympathies to them.

“The Health Board acknowledges there were failings in the level of care Mr Green received and the Health Board has carried out a full internal investigation. Actions have been taken to ensure that these failings do not happen again and these lessons will be shared widely across the Health Board.

“Mr Purt took this case very seriously but was absent from the Health Board at the time the letter was sent and the Health Board felt they could not delay the sending of this letter and therefore he asked another senior director to sign the letter on his behalf. He apologies for any further upset this has caused.”

An inquest into Mr Green’s death was opened and adjourned last year and has not yet been heard.