Orpington man 'suicidal' after waiting 20 months and six cancelled operations for knee replacement

Alan Phelps has been waiting 20 months and six cancelled operations for a knee replacement.

Alan Phelps has been waiting 20 months and six cancelled operations for a knee replacement.

First published in News
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News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

An Orpington grandfather was left "suicidal" after waiting 20 months and six cancelled operations for a knee replacement.

Alan Phelps, 65, was first told he needed a partial replacement in his right knee by Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, in July 2012.

Mr Phelps, of Beddington Road, was then told he would have the operation at the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), Farnborough because of his history of heart problems.

He was due to have the operation in March last year but it was cancelled.

Over the next year, five more operations were cancelled.

Mr Phelps told News Shopper: "The reasons given to me for the cancelled operations have been knee equipment contaminated in theatre and knee equipment not ordered in time for the operation.

"One time theatre machinery broke down on the day of the operation and twice I have been told there were no beds available.

"I should have had a knee replacement operation at the end of February but it was cancelled the day before."

Since News Shopper spoke to King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the PRUH, the pensioner has been given another operation date, however the situation has left him in despair.

News Shopper:

He said: "I have sent letters to local MPs, King's College Trust, the PRUH, the health ombudsman at the houses of parliament.

"Why should I have to do all this to get an operation on my knee?

"20 months ago I was walking about with a bit of a limp. Today I am on crutches.

"I was getting suicidal about it. I was crying about it.

"I have been given tablets for stress."

Mr Phelps blames the situation on last year's dissolution of the South London Healthcare NHS Trust, and claims the PRUH is suffering from a bed crisis.

He said: "I am not angry with the consultants, I am angry with King's chief executive Tim Smart.

"Since King's College Trust took over the situation has not got better, it has only got worse."

A King’s College Hospital Trust spokeswoman said: "We would like to offer our apologies to Mr Phelps for the number of times we've had to cancel his operation.

"A new date for his surgery has been scheduled and confirmed with Mr Phelps.

"Like many hospitals, we have experienced significant demands on the services we provide, particularly during the winter months.

"Although we have tried to limit the impact this has had on our other patients, this does mean we have had to cancel a small number of planned operations.

"This is because there are patients in need of urgent, sometimes life-saving care or surgery."

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