A FATHER has spoken of his dismay at waiting nearly a year for a vital operation, only to be told by doctors it was not available on the NHS.
Stephen Cave approached his GP at The Strand Surgery last August and waited two months to be put on a waiting list for a relatively new form of hip arthroscopy procedure – to treat a genetic abnormality from which he has suffered since birth.
But as the 44-year-old, of Chilgrove Road, Goring, explained, despite being told by both a consultant surgeon and St Richard’s Hospital patient liaison group that surgery would be possible at Goring Hall, his practice informed him it could not be carried out in the area.
Mr Cave, who works as a construction foreman, said he had been left in considerable pain as a result of the continued delays to his treatment.
He said: “My condition has been getting progressively worse over the past three years. I have already had my pre-op about five or six months ago and had already an appointment for an operation cancelled.
“I could have gone down the route of claiming incapacity benefit and done nothing, but that’s not what I wanted to do. This has left me quite dismayed as it’s had an effect on my work, my life with my family.”
His wife Davina added that she had been left “dumbfounded” by a telephone call from the Strand Surgery stating that it would not be able to authorise the surgery.
Mrs Cave said: “He has been in so much pain with this every day and it’s got to the point where he needs help just to be able to get up from the sofa.”
GP Tim Kimber, clinical director of Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning group explained Worthing Hospital or Goring Hall were not accredited by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a research centre for arthroscopy operations.
He said: “The reason for this not being done at Worthing Hospital is not budgetary. The surgery has behaved in an exemplary way in this case and it was done for patient safety reasons as its clinical effectiveness has not been confirmed. I have every sympathy with the patient and this is an unfortunate situation.”
Dr Phillip Barnes, medical director of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “When we know someone is unhappy with the treatment they have received we always aim to discuss the issues with them directly in order to address any concerns as quickly as possible.
“We have been in contact with this patient and will be seeking to talk further to explain the options available, and offer whatever support we can.
“Sometimes, we need to refer patients to specialist centres elsewhere in the country, so they can receive the very best care available. We are sorry about any delays which have occurred in this patient’s care and are working to ensure treatment is arranged as quickly as possible.”