Swapping waiting lists means a new hip faster for Leslie

Leslie Mayne is an active 71-year-old from Little Torrington in Devon. When he was told that his wait time for a hip replacement would increase from 18 weeks following his date of first referral to 62 weeks, he decided enough was enough and he took action.

“It all started in August 2016, when I first noticed a problem,” said Leslie. “Originally I thought I had groin strain, but I was seeing an osteopath for a shoulder problem and when I asked them about it they took an X-ray and it showed a problem in my hip.”

Leslie’s osteopath wrote to his GP who examined Leslie and set him on a course of physiotherapy and exercise.

“By March 2017 it was obvious that this wasn’t working, so I was referred to my local general hospital for an assessment by a consultant who agreed that my left hip needed replacing; this consultation took place at the end of May,” said Leslie.

In early June he was back at this local district hospital for a pre-operative assessment, at which point he was told that he could expect surgery in 18 to 20 weeks.

“Then things went quiet,” said Leslie. “I rang again to see what was happening and was told the waiting time had slipped to 25 weeks. This happened several times until I was called back for another pre-operative assessment in December, because the previous one had run out. At that assessment I asked the nurse about waiting times, and she said they were currently operating on people who had been waiting for 45 weeks.”

In January 2018 Leslie rang the hospital again to be told that the wait time from referral to operation had slipped further to 62 weeks.

“To me this was unacceptable,” he said. “I had even looked into the scheme whereby the NHS will pay for treatment in hospitals overseas, but all the leg work – such as finding a hospital and surgeon overseas and getting them to agree to carry out the treatment – has to be done by the patient so I decided to put that to one side. When I was told the wait time had changed to 62 weeks I did another Internet trawl and discovered Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth.”

Leslie emailed Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre from its website and received a prompt reply. He was given all the information he needed to go back to his GP to get a referral to Peninsula for his treatment.

“I spoke to my local GP surgery which seemed not to know about Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre until the week I contacted them – and that was because two other patients had been in touch about moving from their current waiting list to Peninsula’s,” said Leslie.

He is now booked into Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre for a pre-operative assessment in early February with the potential for surgery just 12 weeks later.

Leslie commented: “If I had known about Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in May of last year I could have saved myself months of unnecessary waiting. People need to know that Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre and centres like it exist, and that they have the legal right to move from their existing waiting list to a shorter one if they have been told that the wait will be longer than 18 weeks.” 

He added: “The problem with my hip is totally restrictive now. I have difficulty walking, swimming, tending the garden or doing other chores around the house and if I have to walk 50 yards I really do not want to walk any further. Thanks to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre I can now look forward to getting my life back faster than if I had stayed on my original waiting list.”

NHS England offers guidance to patients about swapping to a shorter waiting list if you have been told that would will have to wait for treatment for more than 18 weeks.

If you find yourself in this position and you are waiting for a procedure carried out at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, you should contact the Devon Referral Support Service (DRSS) to talk about transferring your care. The DRSS may be able to do this at that point, or it may advise you to go to your GP and ask for a referral to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. If you do not hear from the DRSS within one week, you should contact your local Care Commissioning Group to ask for the transfer.

When you contact the DRSS you may be given a list of hospitals to choose from. If Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre is not on that list you still have the right to come here if you wish to – let the DRSS know.

Once all this is done your referral information, diagnostic results and waiting list information will be transferred to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre.