Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ms H Cushion's Story

In June of this year the monitoring of 18 week NHS operations waiting list times was removed by the Coalition. It was revealed by the health professionals Pulse Magazine yesterday (source: ) that  by September, the number of patients waiting for more than 18 weeks for their operations had jumped by 15%. 

I have personal experience of this, having waited for 25 weeks for foot surgery, finally removing myself from the waiting list after finding another surgeon to treat me.  In March of this year I was diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus (arthritis of the big toe joint) at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital and added to their waiting list for a chilectomy (bone shave).  Just five weeks later I was offered the opportunity to have the operation at a private hospital as the waiting time was going to surpass the Government's 18 week target. In order to meet their targets I could be treated by the middle of May. By this time however there was serious doubt that the chilectomy would solve my mobility and pain problems so I advised the waiting list registrar that I had a re-assessment in June and she agreed to post-pone the private operation until the results were through. 
Having seen a consultant on the 1st of June who was happy for me to go ahead with the chilectomy, I again contacted the waiting list office.  Imagine my shock and dismay to be told that as the 18 week waiting time was not now crucial to them, following the removal of the monitoring, my private operation was no longer an option and I would remain on the waiting list indefinitely.  By this stage I had been waiting for 10 weeks and my pain was increasing and mobility decreasing.  In April I had been signed off sick from work as I could no longer perform my duties as a home carer.
From the middle of July I have spent most of my days in an armchair, unable now to stand or walk for more than a few minutes.  In September, following a second opinion consultation with a different surgeon, I removed myself from the waiting list, having waited for 25 weeks. I was now due to have both feet treated and as I had waited for so long, the damage had increased to such an extent that the operations would now include joint replacement and stabilisation.  However, following an administration error, I was discharged by the new surgeon!  Finally, last week I was back in surgeon B's chair being assessed.. I left his office with a date for surgery, X-Ray and pre-op appointments.  I will finally have my (now far more scary) operation on my right foot on 4th January, my now deteriorated left foot will be addressed once I am able to weight bear on my right. 
I am certain that had I been treated within 18 weeks, not only would the operations I am now facing not be as severe or expensive but I could also have kept my job (I was *released from my contract* in November).  Next year is filled with nervous anticipation for me, the recovery times for the surgery are long and painful and I am facing eviction from my home as my contract here terminates on the 28th of December.  Another legacy of the Coalition government's new policies is that I cannot rent privately again as I am now unemployed and the letting agent's insurance companies will no longer take a risk on benefits claimants. 
So please be upstanding for our Coalition.. well, you go ahead without me, as I cant. 
Note from BofB: We are committed to being a non party political campaign. We do not censor the stories sent in to us, the political opinions in this story are those of the author.

1 comment:

richard.blogger said...

In Coventry there is one large hospital. It gets its income half from one PCT, half from another. One PCT (Warwickshire) is heading for serious debt, so in October they postponed everything except emergencies (A&E, fractures, cancer will be treated). That means that if you need a cataract, or a knee, or hip replacement you have to wait until after next April (or rather, be put on the end of the growing waiting list after April). So in Warks you have to wait at least 6 months.

However, Coventry PCT do not have the same rules. So people covered by Coventry PCT will be on the 18 week waiting list and people covered by Warks will be on 24 + 18 week waiting list. That is for the same hospital.

Warwickshire is now all Tory MPs (before the election there were two Labour MPs). Coventry is all Labour. It may be a coincidence, but it certainly seems that if you vote Tory you get a 6 month waiting list.