Sue Tripp, 64, a care coordinator from Plymouth, had suffered from chronic pain in her right knee for two years. When she was told that she would have to wait for a further 12 to 14 months for surgery on the NHS, she decided that she could not live with the pain for that much longer and opted to have her operation sooner using the self-pay option at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre.
“It all began just over two years ago when I started to get pain in my knees,” said Sue. “I saw my doctor who began the process by referring me for physiotherapy. The physio thought I might have psoriasis arthritis so I was referred to the rheumatology department at my local NHS hospital. They put me on medication which did not agree with me and in fact led to a bowel bleed.”
She added: “At this point my knee was really bad and I was referred to an orthopaedic consultant who told me that I would need a knee replacement, but that I would have to wait a further 12 to 14 months before I could have one on the NHS – I was devastated.”
By this point Sue’s pain was so bad that it was interfering with her sleep and work, which as a care coordinator for a care company involves training home care staff in areas such as manual handling. “There is an element of physicality to my job and it was becoming impossible to do this without experiencing excruciating pain,” said Sue.
The pain was also delaying a move to Spain for Sue and her partner – “I would not have been able to use the stairs or even get to the pool unaided at our apartment.”
A work colleague gave Sue a leaflet from Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre outlining its self-pay option for patients. This is a route to care which does not need private medical insurance and which is cheaper that local private care alternatives.
Said Sue: “I discussed it with my partner and we decided to look into it. I spoke to Paula Thompson at Peninsula and she was really helpful. I booked a consultation and was impressed by the thoroughness of the process – all the tests and questions were completed in one go and I was able to meet everyone who would be involved in the care.”
She added: “This was last November and I was booked in for surgery on 30th December, just a few weeks later. Every aspect of my care was fantastic and my treatment was totally patient-focused – something I provide training for in my work, so I recognise good practice when I see it. The care even continued after I was discharged – no call or question was too much trouble.”
Sue has now had her six-week follow-up and all is well with her new knee. She plans to have her left knee replaced at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, this time on the NHS – “I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
“For years I used to apologise to people because I came with sound effects – every step and movement would be accompanied by a groan of pain. Now I can get around and I feel that I’ve got my life back. I’m only 64, which nowadays isn’t considered old, and I was seriously concerned that I would never be able to work again and that we would have to keep on putting off our move to Spain,” said Sue.
She added: “My advice to anyone caught up in a long waiting list is to consider the self-pay option at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. At the end of the day, what’s the point of having money in the bank when you’re crippled with pain?”
Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “Sue is one of a growing number of patients who are deciding to use our self-pay option to avoid waiting for the surgery they need. In many cases, as with Sue, this decision has come after experiencing years of pain. We are delighted to learn that she is pleased with the care she received, and for her words of encouragement to those who may be thinking about emulating her experience.”
Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre is well known for the quality of its patient experience and was the first hospital of its kind to achieve a rating of ‘Outstanding’ from the Care Quality Commission. Procedures include major and minor orthopaedic surgery, general surgery (hernia repair and gall bladder removal), cataract surgery, endoscopy and diagnostic imaging. Patients can choose Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre for their care under the NHS, and they can also elect for a self-pay option (cheaper than local private health providers) or in some cases private medical insurance.