Feel abandoned by NHS


after several letters to my doctor and a several week wait for an appointment with him face to face I felt something was at last about to happen regarding my arthritis. On arrival I was told it was osteoarthritis.

id explained that the extreme pain that I have in my knees, feet, hips, hands, spine was severely restricting my life. I cannot walk more than 30 metres without excruciating pain, I limp and this is throwing my back, hips and spine out causing even more pain. More frightening is the dislocation.? of my knees, that’s the bast way I can describe it, when the one bone slips out of alignment. This regularly happens when I try to descend steps and has caused me to lose my balance several times.

pain in hands and thumbs leaves me with no strength to carry our everyday activities and severely restricted mobility. I used to sew a lot but now can’t even hold a needle. I used to dance ballroom and Latin but I can no longer do that because the knees will not perform turns or support me through the duration of the music. I’m also a keen gardener but have to severely limit my time outside and sit or perch when doing chores.

All in all my life is restricted and the massive changes are making me extremely depressed. I’m an independent person and at 63 still work part time and baby sit my toddler grandson to support my daughter.

I thought my GP would have something in the way of treatment but I came away with nothing. His only suggestion was physiotherapy but this was not available as a NHS option but one that has to be funded privately by me. I will try but the cost may be too much for me on National Living Wage.

I asked about knee replacements - too young he said. Not something they usually do for osteoarthritis. I raised the subject of pain relief but as I have a liver condition he did not recommend anything. I use gels on the skin but there is nothing stronger than the over the counter ones I buy. I also asked about a new treatment where they take tissue from a knee and grow new cartilage in a lab, before replacing it. He laughed, “in another time, on another planet”.

I feel written off and consigned to the scrap heap!


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 605

    Hi @Rutlander

    My first suggestion would be that you find yourself another GP if that's possible. That response deserves a letter of complaint. I'd demand that they refer you to an orthopaedic specialist.

    I don't know where you live but my local hospital has a self referral service for physiotherapy and I've used it a number of times. The VA website has details on physio.

    Also knee replacement if it is required is a regular treatment for severe OA and 63 is not 'too young' as the NHS website states.

    'The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. ' quote from the NHS website.

  • Woofy
    Woofy Member Posts: 212

    I think you need to see another more sympathetic doctor, and ask for a referral to see someone at the hospital.

    I was lucky with the doctor I saw who referred me. It did however take me two months to get to see a G P.

    clearly over the counter medication isn’t helping. You must tell them how this pain is really impacting your quality of life.

    hope you get sorted soon.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,733
    edited 11. Oct 2022, 22:53

    I agree, see another GP. My sister had both knees replaced by the time she was 60, I had my hip replaced when I was 62. Ask for a referral to an MSK consultant (musculoskeletal), and possibly a rheumatologist to see if your problem may also be Rheumatoid Arthritis. Also ask about pain relief, as it sounds like you’re well beyond what over the counter remedies can do for you. I was on cocodamol and naproxen, which just about kept me functioning till I had my hip replacement. I’m sorry you’ve had this shabby treatment from your GP - given how much your pain is impacting your life, they really should have looked into this more seriously.

  • TillyBex
    TillyBex Member Posts: 10

    Hi all,

    I am experiencing similar difficulties getting to see my GP to discuss my OA hip.

    I only seem to get triaged by phone, mostly not even by a medic. I had a call back from one Dr in 8 weeks.

    My diagnosis has only been from a physiotherapist.

    I had to call up several times to get any pain relief, and then it is Codeine which doesn't do much.

    I have gone from being an active 53 year old to a hobbling, limping woman who can't get dressed or go up stairs or walk across spaces without something to hold onto, in less than 5 months.

    I feel very isolated and down about it all. My confidence is rock bottom.

    How do we get heard. Any tips how to get a proper orthopedic referral other than go private?

  • Lambourne
    Lambourne Member Posts: 21

    You need to be very forceful to be heard and not afraid to kick up a fuss. Luckily my GP was sympathetic but the first consultant I saw similarly told me I was too young for a knee replacement, I had to push for physio and then did a course at the hospital gym on the advice of the physio, resulting from that, and again by being forceful, I was given two years local authority gym and swim at a greatly reduced rate in recognition that exercise and weight loss can help with osteoarthritis.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,485

    Good morning @Jowillo1377

    Apologies to @Rutlander for hijacking your thread I just want to welcome Jowillo1377)

    It doesn't sound as though you had a very productive appointment with your GP which must have been extremely frustrating having waited so long for a face-to-face appointment.

    You were told you have osteoarthritis was this as a result of imaging (X-rays for example) I wonder or via examination.

    I was quite surprised to hear you were told you would need to pay for your physiotherapy privately obviously this is an option for those who can afford it:

    Sometimes we do have to be quite assertive with our GPs unfortunately. I am attaching some information for you about Osteoarthritis which includes a link to some of Versus Arthritis' exercises. They might be worth a look:

    I wonder whether your daughter might be happy to accompany you to another appointment at your surgery (a different Dr maybe?) sometimes it can help to have someone with you for support.

    I am very glad you have found this community and am sure you will get a great deal of support here.

    Best wishes


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