A patient tells me of waiting 11 months for hip replacements in @RDEhospitals – and it’s going to get worse this winter. The RD&E boasted of cutting ‘elective admissions’ by 5 per cent last year, but this is a shameful failing of the Trust and @NEWDevonCCG.

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From a constituent: ‘I am writing to you with another example of the impact and stupidity of reducing beds in local community hospitals. I am presently on the waiting list for hip replacement surgery at the RD&E. This waiting list is currently 11 months, compared with the Government guidelines of 18 weeks. 

‘During a follow-up phone call with the RD&E last week, I was told that winter health problems were already causing a shortage of beds and the knock-on effect will be further delays for people on waiting lists for serious surgery. Clearly, beds in community hospitals could have been used to help with winter health emergencies.’

Hip replacements are called ‘elective surgery’ and the RD&E Trust boasted earlier this year that it had reduced the number of these admissions by 5 per cent. As I pointed out to the Health Scrutiny Committee at the time, this might be something to be pleased about if lifestyle changes, etc., meant that people didn’t need so many operations – but the evidence is to the contrary. It has been achieved by lengthening waiting lists for patients who suffer pain and discomfort for months or even years on end.

The lack of priority for ‘elective’ admissions is one of the most shameful failings of the NHS in Devon, alongside the mounting delays in treatment for cancer. Both these problems are repeatedly brushed under the carpet by local NHS leaders.

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