St Albans woman’s agonising wait for hip op

NHS England

NHS England - Credit: Archant

Long months of waiting for a double hip replacement operation have left a St Albans patient suffering crippling pain.

Tricia Grimward, 59, of Spicer Gate, St Albans, had her pre-op assessment for a bilateral hip replacement in late October last year and assumed that the operation would follow shortly.

But Christmas came and went with no notification and despite calls to the admissions department at St Albans City Hospital where she had elected to go for the operation, no date was given to her.

Tricia’s mother died in March and it was during that month that she had a phone call to say that, subject to her agreement, her operation would be outsourced to the private Spire Bushey Hospital and she would hear more within a week or two.

When no-one contacted her yet again, she tried to speak to the consultant’s PA, St Albans City Hospital and Spire Bushey to find out what was happening but no-one was able to help her.

By this time, Tricia said, she was finding walking very difficult and was having to get a taxi home from her work as a dispenser at Boots in the city centre.

Her GP has now made strenuous efforts to hurry things up and last week Tricia learned that she was on her consultant’s waiting list and should finally have the operation in June.

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Tricia, who suffers from arthritis which had been eased by weekly use of the hydrotherapy pool at St Albans City Hospital until its closure last summer, said: “The arthritis just gets worse, it doesn’t stop.

“It is advancing in my hips and my condition can only deteriorate.

“I can’t be the only person who has found themselves in this position.”

A spokesperson for the West Herts Hospitals Trust which runs St Albans City Hospital said: “We are very sorry that Mrs Grimward’s planned surgery has not yet gone ahead and we would like to apologise to her for the lack of communication around the reasons for the delay and for any distress this has caused.

“We have now offered her a provisional date for her surgery which she has accepted.”

She explained that the delay was due to the fact that the trust’s hospitals had been extremely busy over the winter period with an increase in patients requiring emergency surgery, “which in turn means we are not able to schedule all the planned surgery as early as we would have liked.”

The spokesperson added: “As part of an ongoing programme of work to improve patients’ access to planned surgery, we are working with our partners to improve overall waiting times for all our patients.”