A Derrylin woman says it’s disgraceful that she is being forced to make a 200 mile trip on eight different buses for a knee operation.
Roseanne Christou has been waiting over a year for an operation on her knees and has been told to get a bus to and from the North West Independent Hospital in Ballykelly for her operation on February 26. This would involve a 100-mile journey there and back and changing buses four times each way.
Roseanne, who has been suffering with osteo-arthritis for many years, was informed by the Western Trust before Christmas that the long-awaited surgery on her left knee would finally be carried out next month.
“I rang the hospital and told them that I was prepared to go and have the operation done but that the only problem for me would be getting there,” said Roseanne. “I told them that I could drive myself but they said that I wouldn’t be able to drive after the operation. They suggested that I try to get an ambulance to Ballykelly but I was late told that wouldn’t be possible. The only option for me is to get a taxi there and back which would set me back about £200 or else use public transport,” she added.
Widow Roseanne says she is on her own as her son lives in Australia and she doesn’t see why one of her friends should have to lose a day’s pay to take her to her procedure.
“The first bus through Derrylin is at 8am and that takes 25 minutes to Enniskillen where I’d have to sit and wait for a bus to Omagh. Once I got to Omagh I’d have to wait for a bus to Derry and then wait there for a bus on to Ballykelly. I won’t even make it to the operation on time with all this upheaval,” she said.
After having the procedure, Roseanne says she would have to get straight off the operating table and wait outside the hospital gates for a bus. Even though the operation is taking place at a private hospital, Roseanne has been on the NHS waiting list since November 2014.
“The letter from the NHS told me that the Western Trust do not provide transport for patients attending planned elective surgery and the expectation was that patients would use their own transport, secure the support of family or friends or avail of public transport.”
“They have said that I would have the option of transferring the surgery back to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry but this would mean a further delay.
“There should be a better system for patients who are going in for elective surgery at Ballykelly on a daily basis and being discharged on the same day. It’s saving the NHS a lot of money by not having to keep me overnight in hospital and taking up a bed that someone else might need. The Trust will reimburse me for my bus tickets but not for the taxi journey. Patients should be provided with a service where they are able to go in, have the surgery and be brought back safely to their own front door again all in the same day.”
A spokesman from the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said: “Due to patient / client confidentially the Trust cannot comment on individual cases or treatment.”
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Posted: 6:00 pm January 30, 2016