My seven-year wait for a hip replacement

Lynne McCarron Image copyright Lynne McCarron
Image caption Lynne says she is in constant pain

Lynne McCarron has been waiting seven years for a hip replacement - the last two and a half years her case has been classed as an emergency.

She is among hundreds of thousands of people waiting for treatment in Northern Ireland.

The 62 year old from Londonderry said she has become less mobile, isolated and increasingly dependent on painkillers.

There are days she feels like "someone is sawing" into her hip.

"I am in constant pain all the time," she said.

There are currently more than 25,000 people waiting longer than a year for surgery in Northern Ireland, according to Health and Social Care Board statistics

'You wake up in pain'

"At times it is like somebody is sawing into your bone. At times it is just gnawing away at the bone," she said.

Often the pain makes her "yelp", she said.

It is a constant reminder of her need for surgery.

"If I get two and a half hours sleep a night, it is a good night for me.

"If you lie on one side for too long you can't stick it. You wake in pain.

"My hip will lock and I have to get out of bed to try and move it. Once it locks, the pain when it is locking is tremendous."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lynne has been classed as an emergency patient for the last two and a half years of her seven year wait

For the past 30 months, she has been deemed an emergency patient.

And the wait has taken more than a physical toll.

"I haven't got the quality of life now that I would have had five years ago. There are days I can't move, I am stuck in the house.

"Emotionally and mentally there are days that are really bad because I am used to getting up, going here and there being really active in everything."

She believes there are people worse off than her and does not think doctors or nurses are to blame.

In November, the Royal College of Surgeons claimed Northern Ireland's healthcare system was "at the point of collapse" after it was revealed waiting times reached an all-time high.

On Tuesday, a consultant at Altnagelvin Hospital described the health service as "relatively rudderless."

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