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Patient from Barningham shares concern over more than year's wait for treatment at West Suffolk Hospital




A patient at West Suffolk Hospital has voiced her concern over a more than year wait for treatment.

Elizabeth Oliver, 77, of Barningham, had a hip operation around 12 years ago and is waiting for maintenance.

She said she was told in February last year the maintenance was urgent, but is still waiting to be called in.

Elizabeth Oliver, 77, has been waiting for hip replacement maintenance since last February. Picture: Mark Westley.
Elizabeth Oliver, 77, has been waiting for hip replacement maintenance since last February. Picture: Mark Westley.

In May, she was told it could be another 12 months before she is seen.

She said: “Last year I was still able to drive. This year I do not feel safe driving because of pain in the foot and swelling.

“The whole leg is affected. I cannot garden. I spend just a lot of my time easing around the house and managing what I do.”

Elizabeth Oliver said she could not drive any more because of the deterioration of her hip. Picture: Mark Westley.
Elizabeth Oliver said she could not drive any more because of the deterioration of her hip. Picture: Mark Westley.

While Elizabeth’s situation has deteriorated since last year, she did note hers was not life-threatening and acknowledged other patients may need to be prioritised before her due to hospital backlogs.

Meanwhile, the heart-broken daughter of another patient at West Suffolk Hospital has voiced her frustration over operation waiting times.

Susan Waites, 63, of Thetford, has been on the rapid list to have a hip operation for 18 months.

She lives with her daughter, Tanya Waites, who said she’d had to take time off work to care for her mother and, combined with changes made to her home, the situation had cost her thousands of pounds.

A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said earlier this month over 22,000 people were waiting for operations at the end of April this year.
A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said earlier this month over 22,000 people were waiting for operations at the end of April this year.

Susan is also waiting to have treatment for non-curable skin cancer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, but was told she could not have it until her hip operation had been carried out.

Tanya said: “I have gone down every avenue to try to get my mum seen as it is heart-breaking, her having no life, especially as it is now shortened by cancer.

“I have asked (it) to be taken over by a different hospital that can do the operation if it is completely impossible at West Suffolk, but they told me if it was broken it would have been operated on.”

West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.
West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

Tanya said her mother saw a consultant two years ago and he had said it was one of the worst cases he had seen in a while.

Despite the seriousness of the case, Tanya said her mother’s operation had been postponed four times, and that on one occasion physio was offered to alleviate the pain.

It comes after another patient, John Corrie, voiced his concern at having to wait for treatment at the hospital earlier this month.

A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “We always want to treat patients as quickly as possible but unfortunately the impact of the pandemic has meant that our waiting lists have increased, and we are sorry that Mrs Waites, Mrs Oliver and other patients are waiting longer than any of us would like.

“Where possible we are introducing extra capacity to see patients more quickly, using £10 million of additional funding across Suffolk and north east Essex to tackle waiting lists.”

They added that waiting list patients were prioritised in order of clinical need and where appropriate physio was offered to help patients manage symptoms prior to surgery.

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