Children’s author urges patients to consider travelling for treatment
December 31 2015
An Isle of Wight author who travelled to Southampton to undergo a complete hip replacement is urging patients not to fear the journey as the results and co-ordinated care are exceptional.
Ms Eirwen Goldsworthy, who writes and illustrates under the name of Eira Reeves, was in constant pain and using pain killers to manage her condition. She said: “For nearly a year bending was very painful, if not impossible. I had to give up Nordic walking and the pain was on my mind most of the time. I think years sitting as I wrote and drew had taken its toll on my hip.”
Ms Goldsworthy’s GP told her that she’d need a new hip replacement and suggested that she could opt to have the surgery at centres in Southampton, including the NHS treatment centre run by Care UK.
Ms Goldsworthy, who lives in East Cowes and writes and illustrates children’s bible stories, said: “I was amazed; within four weeks of the GP appointment I was having the operation. A taxi was organised to take me to the terminal and tickets for the ferry were posted to me. On the day of the operation they also sent an extra set of tickets so that I could take a friend with me. I thought that was kind. The way it was organised took the stress out of the situation and increased my confidence in the process.
“When I arrived at the centre, at Royal South Hants Hospital, I was struck by how clean and bright it is. I was seen immediately and everyone was very friendly and reassuring.”
The operation was carried out by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Flood using an epidural anaesthetic technique that not only stops the needs for a general anaesthetic, but also reduces the time patients need to stay in hospital.
Ms Goldsworthy added: “It was incredible. I was having tea soon after the operation. The physiotherapists were exceptional. They had me up on my feet shortly after and I went home four days later. It could’ve been sooner, but for the need to get an ambulance back to the Isle of Wight, and that day’s one had already left.”
Ms Goldsworthy was so impressed she wrote to the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, to praise the service’s theatre and physiotherapy teams as well as the centre’s cleanliness and food, which she described as superb.
From the hospital she moved to a rehabilitation care home on the Isle of Wight for two weeks of rest and physiotherapy: “I’ve recently had my one year review and the x-rays show how well the hip has sealed. It never enters my mind now, which is very different from a year ago.”
Paula Friend, hospital director at Southampton NHS Treatment Centre, said: “I was delighted to read Ms Goldsworthy’s letter. I am very proud of my team and I’m delighted that we can offer patients from the Isle of Wight this service. Our team was able to significantly improve her wellbeing. At her year anniversary her Oxford score, which the NHS uses to measure patients before and after treatment, showed that she had moved from the lowest group for mobility and comfort on arrival to the highest level on recovery.”
Care UK runs 10 NHS treatment centres nationwide which provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment for more than 80,000 patients each year.