Roland Crooke left in pain and denied hip op on NHS paid £11,500Ruth Mabhiza2019-10-04T15:17:34+00:00
Roland Crooke left in pain and denied hip op on NHS paid £11,500
Roland Crooke who paid £11,500 for a hip operation
A PATIENT who was left in “severe pain” and unable to walk had to take out £11,500 in loans to pay for an operation after the NHS in York refused to treat him.
Roland Crooke, 67, needed a hip replacement and was taking morphine to cope with the pain. But under Vale of York CCG’s controversial surgery guidelines introduced in February 2017, he was told he could not have the operation.
The guidelines say anyone with a body mass index higher than 30 must lose weight or wait a year for non-emergency procedures. The policy has enabled the CCG to save £2.2 million in the past 12 months.
Mr Crooke, who has lost 5.5 stone since 2013, said he was unable to lose weight through exercise due to the pain and was forced to pay for the surgery himself.
Speaking at a council meeting he said: “This is clearly a rationing measure dressed up in clinical clothes. It leaves hundreds of patients in pain for longer.
“It discriminates against overweight people and probably the less active elderly.”
He said he was only told he could not have the operation at an appointment to prepare him for surgery.
“By then I was in severe pain,” he added. “I could only walk short distances. My wife had just been given a breast cancer diagnosis. The CCG policy meant that the hospital ignored all this.
“This is a money saving exercise. It’s so unfair – if I lived in Harrogate none of this would apply.”
Dr Nigel Wells, clinical chair of Vale of York CCG, thanked Mr Crooke, who lives near Easingwold, for sharing his story. He admitted that the policy is not ideal but that the organisation faces financial challenges and has to make difficult decisions.
He said: “This city, this CCG and this local authority has to take hard decisions regarding where health spending happens. The biggest risk in the Vale of York CCG is around children’s mental health and access to services.
“I know that this policy has not been good for our relationships with patients or for our relationships with clinicians and in an ideal world this would not be the way that you would do it. GPs have an integral role in this and it’s an extra burden to them.”
But he said many patients have been able to avoid the need for surgery because they have made lifestyle changes due to the policy. He said everyone who needs an operation should get one, but highlighted that surgery is not always the answer and it has risks.
He added that encouraging patients to follow healthy lifestyles is important.
Cllr Chris Cullwick Liberal Democrats, Huntington and New Earswicksaid Mr Crooke’s experiences were “disturbing”. He added: “We all understand the context and why the managing of demand has been necessitated. It certainly illustrates how there’s a very real danger of exacerbating health inequalities. Not everyone can afford private healthcare.”
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