Junkfood Science: How she spent her holiday

July 28, 2007

How she spent her holiday

This isn’t what most of us might think of as summer tourism, but for this woman in the UK, it changed her life.

The East Anglian Daily Times in Suffolk reports:

Health tourist claims back cash from NHS

A PENSIONER who borrowed more than £7,000 to pay for a hip operation abroad after being told she was too overweight to be treated on the NHS is trying to claim the money back from health chiefs. Former Bartlet Hospital canteen worker Moira Ryan, 69, from Felixstowe, flew to Malta with her son for the successful hip replacement....

The PCT had refused her treatment because of its policy of not providing surgery to most people with a body mass index of more than 35 unless they go through a weight-loss plan....Mrs Ryan said: “I had gone to Ipswich Hospital for an appointment and was told I needed a new hip but ...NHS kept putting me off, telling me to lose weight. I am obese, but I paid my taxes all my life and feel let down badly. I am very, very disappointed - I had to turn to the banks to get a loan...

Mrs. Ryan, who has three children, flew from Stansted with Operations Abroad, which arranged for her to be picked up at her home, taken to the airport, and met off the plane in Malta. She was taken to the hospital, underwent tests, and was operated on the following day.

She said: “I feel brilliant, and I am back on my feet and doing very well. I am out of pain for the first time in five years....

Mrs. Ryan is thankfully doing well now after taking matters into her own hand. She found that being on the waiting list for her hip replacement meant being perpetually put off. No doubt, Ms. Anjelica Allen, the woman denied her hip operation in May for being six pounds overweight, is hoping that won’t be the case for her. In an update on her story, the Gainsborough Standard recently reported that due to the media attention to her treatment, the Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust has agreed to put her back on a waiting list.

But don’t rejoice yet. Besides an undefined wait ahead for her, it appears they’ve loosened their ruling restrictions only for lesser fat women. Women with BMIs above 35 are still being denied routine surgeries, including hysterectomies, until they take part in weight loss programs:

Hip, hip, hurray!

A TOWN woman who made national headlines after being refused a hip operation for being just six pounds overweight has been left overjoyed after hospital chiefs performed a dramatic climb-down. Anjelica Allan, after appearing on The Standard's front page in May, made national news in The Sun, The Sunday Times and GMTV as she voiced her discontent after being refused the op.

Health bosses admitted to The Standard that people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 30 - as in Miss Allan's case - were refused hip and knee operations to save the primary care trusts money. But health officials have now overturned the policy - and Miss Allan is back on the waiting list....

Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust (LPCT) made the ruling on funding for knee and hip replacements as part of a savings drive in May 2006 - cutting costs by £500,000 per year.

Patients with a BMI of more than 30, were denied routine surgery - including hysterectomies - under a ruling made when Lincolnshire had three separate PCTs. However, the limit has only been raised to those with a BMI of higher than 35. Patients with a higher BMI will need to take part in a weight loss programmes....

How many people will continue to be denied treatment that can return them to quality, functional living, and will be left to suffer excruciating pain, simply because they are fat? As has been well documented in the medical literature, there is no credible evidence to support claims that fat people don’t benefit just as much as anyone else from joint replacements. There is only one reason for rationing and denying them care.

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