Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Last Thursday I had a total replacement of my left hip at Derriford Hospital. I was in Stannon ward for 4 days and am now recuperating at home for a little while, but will still be doing e-mails, post and phone calls.

I had been struggling with a lot of hip pain for over three years, and in recent months walking up hill and tackling steps was getting harder.  I claim the original cause was a rugby injury, but that may just be some macho male self-justification thing. All I knew was that I was in pain, had to sort it out and the x-rays showed I was down to bone on bone.

At 56, it was the first proper operation I have ever had (since having my tonsils out as a child) and gave me first-hand experience of how the NHS and our hospital are doing.

Early on the morning of the operation there were several checks to make sure I was who I said I was, that it was the left hip, that I had given my consent in writing, until the final surreal meeting with the surgeon before he scrubbed up. "Are you up for this?" he asked. "I am", I replied, "are you?"He said he was, we shook hands and wished each other luck. It was bizarre to think that in a few minutes time he would be hacking me to pieces!

From the consultant and his team, to the nurses and health care professionals who looked after me hour by hour, I could not have received better care. The ward teams are divided into three shifts and they are remarkably jolly considering they had grumpy and demanding patients like me to put up with. They deserve special thanks. The one thing that would drive me mad was the bell going all day and night as we demanded the presence of our professional carers (some patients more than others). Then in came the physiotherapists inflicting their painful remedies from the very next morning, as well as the team from Occupational Therapy. They were all skilled and professional and the co-ordination between each service seemed to work well.

The food and cleaning are delivered these days by Serco. Hospital food is hospital food, but there was a good choice and the ward was kept very clean.

Derriford Hospital sometimes gets a bad press, and of course sometimes mistakes happen. But I could not fault it.

posted by Gary @ 11:48