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"Waiting for hip op"

About: Derriford Hospital / General surgery Derriford Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a carer),

My mother has been waiting for a hip replacement for 37 weeks, since being referred in mid January.  She had first pre-op in May and a date of late July (already past  18 weeks).  This was cancelled on the Friday afternoon before 7am Monday admission for the op that day.  More time passes. Second date early October was again cancelled on the Friday afternoon.  We now wait in limbo for another date.  Each time have to repeat pre-op and other tests.  Living outside Plymouth this means a long journey costing £60 taxi each time (previous use of patient transport left us in the lurch). 

We understand the severe funding crisis the NHS faces and how professional staff are, we feel, brought to the limit by the shortfall of beds, staffing and patience of all involved.  We feel powerless without any options to get this essential treatment. My mother's mobility has worsened such that she cannot now get to public transport and it has had a serious affect on her quality of life.  What can we do?


Response from Alison Stanton, Complaints and PALS Manager, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

picture of Alison Stanton

The Quality & Rota Manager for Trauma, Orthopaedics & Rheumatology Service Line has responded as follows:

I would like to thank the lady and or gentleman for writing in with their concerns, and apologise on behalf of the Trauma, Orthopaedic and Rheumatology department that the services provided have not met the high standards we try to achieve.

By way of explanation, during the months of December to 16 April, all elective planned surgery was cancelled due to operational pressures as the orthopaedic service line beds, and wards were used for urgent trauma and medical patients. The consultants have agreed to operate on clinically urgent patients first and then routine patients

Your consultant's secretary will call you as soon as they have planned a date for surgery, but due to the back log of patients this could still be several months, and again this is dependent whether you are classed as urgent or routine and in the event there is an increase in the numbers of trauma or emergency admissions who require surgery, elective surgery may be postponed.

With regard to your overall waiting time, whilst we work hard to see and treat patients according to the eighteen week timeframe set out in the National Constitution, this is not always possible for a variety of reasons.

I am sorry that you have experienced problems with hospital transport, normally this is a well provided service. I can suggest that if transport is an issue and depending on what form of transport you may require, your GP practice may run a hospital car transport system. There is usually a charge for this service but it may help you and may be worth seeking out this information.

Pre-operative assessment appointments are repeated as the swab test taken only last for a 90 day period, and then they need to be repeated again.

I apologise again on behalf of the service line for the stress and anxiety that you have been caused as a result of the delays waiting for surgery.

Unfortunately, without further information, I cannot investigate this case more thoroughly, but do not hesitate to contact me if further information is required.

Should you wish us to investigate your concerns in more detail, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01752 439884 or 01752 432564. Alternatively, please email the team at:

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful