Belfast Telegraph

Special Report: Human face of health cuts: It was choice of £10k private hip op or wait in pain for three years

Case Study 4

Norah Brown (79) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone:

"I can't tell you how cross I am about what is going on at Stormont and the behaviour of our MLAs, which is scandalous.

They have no conscience about taking their salaries while there are thousands of people suffering on waiting lists.

I needed my hip replaced, I started having problems about a year or two ago and was referred to a surgeon.

He told me there was a long waiting list and then you don't hear anything, you don't hear how long you are going to have to wait.

A year passed and things started to deteriorate quite badly and I wasn't able to do the cooking classes I normally do as I couldn't stand for any length of time.

I was in constant pain so I ended up on heavy painkillers in order to carry on with my daily life, keeping the house clean, cooking, and trying to do a bit of gardening. But then they play havoc with your whole system.

I felt sick and couldn't eat properly so I lost a lot of weight and my family became very concerned about me. Then I found out that the waiting time for the operation was three years and my family said they couldn't watch me any longer so we decided that I would go private.

It cost £10,000, which is an awful lot of money for anyone to find, but fortunately we had savings that we were able to use.

I am in a very privileged position that I was able to do that and I almost feel guilty that I could when there are so many other people suffering.

It had got to the stage with me that I felt like life wasn't worth living as there were so many things I couldn't do anymore.

It's five weeks since I had the operation and everything is going well so far, but if I had waited another two years I dread to think what would have happened, I could have been in a wheelchair, or I could have been pushing up the daisies.

It's a disgrace that people at the end of their lives are suffering so badly."

Belfast Telegraph


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