Mum is refused surgery on the NHS because she smokes two cigarettes a day

A mum has slammed the "barbaric" decision to refuse her hip surgery because she smokes two cigarettes a day.

Laura Naylor, 29, has suffered from hip dysplasia for the last ten years and thought she was finally going to have the surgery that would change her life.

The condition has forced the stay-at-home mum to stop working and she is left in agony if she walks too far.

But she believed the pain was about to come to an end when her application for NHS funding was accepted, reports Hull Live.

On the form the mum-of-two clearly stated she smoked one cigarette in the morning and one in the evening.

So after forking out £50 on Thursday to get to a pre-assesement at Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital, she was stunned to be told by a nurse she couldn’t have the operation – and needed to go through a non-smoking clinic for six months.

“I was in shock,” said Laura, from Hornsea, East Yorkshire. “I didn’t say much at first and then tried to question why and what was going on.  

“They knew I smoked, it was on the forms.

“I never once got told I had to stop smoking, I just got told I needed to cut back.”

Spire Healthcare has said Laura’s eligibility for the procedure should have been identified by her GP.

A spokesman said: “In this case the patient was transferred to us from Castle Hill and at pre-assessment it became clear that she could not be eligible for this operation due to the current rules set out by East Riding of Yorkshire CCG.

“This should have been identified and highlighted by her GP and we have informed her of the steps that need to be taken before an operation can take place.”  

With time spent at a clinic and the waiting process to be accepted for funding, Laura could potentially be facing a further two years to have the surgery.

She said: “It’s the kids that suffer in the long run because I can’t go far and I can’t do much with them. I do as much as I can. I can have a good couple of days but then I need a day to recover.

“I used to go running all the time and the kids would go on pushbikes and come with me, but I can’t do that anymore.”

Laura used to work in a café but had to give up the job because the pain was too much to bear. Now, she is a stay-at-home mum and relies mostly on her parents and taxis to get her around.

She said: “I used to work in a café but it just got to a point where it was too painful. Now, I just stay at home with the kids. All I want to do is go back to work.

“I can’t go too far. If I go to get shopping I have to get a taxi back every single day. Everything I do revolves around taxis or asking my parents if they can help.

“They took me to most of my appointments, but they work so I can’t rely on them all the time.” 

To rub salt in the wound, Laura found out that if she had been living in Hull instead of East Riding her status as a smoker would not apply, as the Hull Clinical Commission Group (HCCG) does not have restrictions to smoking.

Laura said the different rules for separate catchment areas was "barbaric".

“It should all be the same for everybody,” Laura added. “If that person needs that operation they should have that operation.

“It is ridiculous that because I live out of the catchment area and in East Riding that I can’t have that operation because I smoke two cigarettes a day.

“Why doesn’t Hull have to do that? There shouldn’t be a difference when it comes to who is who, it should all be the same.”

Hull’s CCG only has restrictions for surgery on a patient’s BMI and does not have a policy in place that restricts surgery for patients who are smokers.

A spokesperson for NHS Hull CCG said: “Although we anticipate that the patient’s GP/clinician would advise on the range of support in place to help people to give up smoking, NHS Hull CCG does not have a policy that restricts surgery for patients on the grounds of whether they smoke or not.”

East Riding CCG (ERYCCG), on the other hand, requires patients to go through a non-smoking clinic for a period of six months before NHS funding for surgery can be granted. 

Paula South, director of quality and governance / lead nurse at ERYCCG, said: “We know patients who smoke or are obese are at increased risk of suffering complications during or after their operation.

“In October 2017, the CCG introduced Health Optimisation to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. For our patients who smoke or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher, we provide support for a 6-month period to help them quit smoking or lose weight before any non-urgent surgery.

“This helps to make sure our patients are in the best possible health when they go for their operation and able to recover better afterwards. After the 6-month period, or sooner, if they stop smoking or lose the required weight, patients are eligible for referral to surgery.

“There are a number of exemptions; including patients who need urgent or emergency surgery, they will not have to wait.”

Laura has said she will be sending a complaint to the Patient Advise and Liasion Service (PALS).

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