Scottish woman travels to Malta for hip replacement

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

A Scottish woman who doctors said was 30lbs overweight has travelled to Malta for two hip replacements at a cost of £7,000 each because the Scottish NHS refused to even put her on the waiting list.

I guess I must be lucky (if you look at it that way) in that I’ve never been turned down for surgery on my knees even though I’m overweight.  It probably helps that I’ve been seeing the same consultant since I was at school but it’s probably more the fact that he understands that when you have real trouble walking it’s very difficult to control your weight.

If surgery is being refused on the rather lame pretext of being overweight in Scotland, you have to wonder what all these billions we’ve been sending north of the border have been spent on.

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Hat-tip to “axel” (reader)


  1. axel (1214 comments) says:

    ‘Doctors refuse to do risky procedure’
    ‘Patient not healthy enough to survive treatment’

    In these days of league tables, results and customer choice, the surgeons did not want to blot their copy books by having an unhealthy un fit specimen dying on the slab!

    This may sound harsh but it is how it is, she is fat and as a result she needs a lot more back up to survive surgery, which, probably knowing her location, in the hills, did not want to commit those resources, ICU bed and staff, to a non urgent case.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    On this subject I can speak with some authority because I’m overweight and have chronic knee problems. I know that having mobility problems contributes to being overweight and that contributes to mobility problems. It’s viscious circle.

  3. axel (1214 comments) says:

    I would guess that knees are a less major operation than hips?

    This woman comes from the ‘hills’ where there is no ‘big hospital’ and as a result probably ICU facilities are not so plentiful, so assigning her an ICU bed will put an undue strain on resources?

    I appreciate what you are saying about the viciousness of the circle but there will be plenty of weight loss\healthy eating\suitable excercise programs for this woman. ( i wont tell you about them as your blood pressure is probably high enough as it is!)

    You also have the bonus of knowing your consultant for a long time, he has probably assessed you and calculated you will wake up after he has finished his gig, maybe this woman does not have such a long standing relationship with her consultant?

    Maybe she has other health concerns?

    The bottom line is, her doctor does not feel happy with the odds of her dying while on the slab and does not want to gamble and she for whatever reasons does not want to improve her own odds of survival but is prepared to gamble.

  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    I had to travel about 35 miles to get to the nearest orthopaedic hospital. People travel from far and wide to Oswestry. They come from all over the Brownish Republic of New Britain and even from abroad. Travelling to the nearest big hospital is the norm for anyone living in a rural area and if they have any “special” needs (like me being on my third consultant and 5th or 6th operation on my knees and I’m not even 30 yet) then it’s normal to go to a specialist hospital.

    And hips are slightly worse than knees but only because there’s more range of movement in a hip. There’s not much in it though because you’ve got more weight on a smaller surface area in your knee joint.

  5. axel (1214 comments) says:

    I thought hips would be worse for operations because there is more muscle to cut through, more nerves and the femoral arteries?

    I think her particular issue is, she lives in a rural health board, she is probably closer to carlisle or newcastle than edinburgh or glasgow and there are weird issues about inter health board treatments up here, that is her local health board was not prepared to pay a big health board with lots of icu beds to treat her or not prepared to pay the price, our internal market system is a wonder to behold!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Pamela (1 comments) says:

    It is always hard when you only hear one side of a story and 30lb overweight ain’t that bad so I can’t see that was the only factor.
    It sounds like there may have been other issues to sort out. Perhaps related to her weight but perhaps not. If that is the case then I’d be asking why the Maltese hospital decided to go ahead with the procedure.

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