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Don’t forget your right to choose

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Chris Harris, 67, and her husband Nick, 68, from Cornwall have both been treated at Care UK’s Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre.

They were so impressed with the care they received that Chris took to Facebook to remind everyone that NHS patients have the right to ask their doctors to refer them to the hospital of their choice.

Chris had an endoscopy at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, while Nick had a total knee replacement eight months ago and four keyhole surgical procedures on his shoulder in January.

Nick’s knee replacement stemmed from an injury he sustained in the mid-1970s. The pain became progressively worse over the past 10 years to the point where his doctor agreed he needed a knee replacement. Nick was given a choice about where he could be treated and he chose the Care UK hospital in Plymouth.

Chris said: “He is completely pain-free and just doesn’t think about his knee now.”

Three years ago Nick injured his shoulder after years of accumulated sports injuries had weakened it. Nick’s doctor again agreed that he needed surgery, and once again Nick chose Peninsula – especially when he discovered that the procedure would be carried out by the same surgeon who had replaced his knee.

Chris said: “Nick went in for his shoulder surgery on a Sunday. We arrived early because we wanted to make sure there were no delays en-route. I waited on my own in the café area from 8.00am to about 1.45pm, but even though the café wasn’t open the young lady on reception made me drinks and showed me where to help myself. I thought that was marvellous, especially when she commented that she loves working at the treatment centre because everybody cares about everyone else.”

Since then Chris and Nick have been spreading the word about the excellent care available at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre.

In her Facebook share Chris wrote: “Please read this and share if you wish, if you are in pain or know someone who is. We are meeting so many people who have knee, hip and shoulder pains and they have not heard of Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. They also do not realise that they can ask their doctor for a referral to a particular hospital.”

Chris then goes on to say how successful Nick’s surgery has been and how he is now pain free. She then explains how she and Nick met a man who, seeing Nick on crutches and with a scar, asked him what had happened.

Chris said: “Nick explained and the gentleman said that he was experiencing similar pain but was afraid of the operation, but that Nick’s story had encouraged him to look into it.”

Chris and Nick have also been spreading the good word outside of social media. If they meet someone who has been in pain for some time they always share their experience, even convincing one lady in a supermarket to consider knee surgery by reassuring her that she would not necessarily need a general anaesthetic as Nick’s knee had been replaced with a lumbar anaesthetic.

Chris said: “We feel privileged to have been treated at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. Whatever positive thing we say about the hospital is said with passion and truth. It is a superb place at which to have treatment and we would urge everyone to remember that we all have the choice about where we are treated, and to consider Peninsula when they have to make that choice.”

Mark White, interim hospital director, said: “We were thrilled to read Chris’s post on Facebook. It was extremely good of her to do that and we are pleased to hear that both she and her husband Nick have had good patient and visitor experiences with us.

“NHS patients have been able to choose where they receive treatment for some years now and, providing it is for a procedure we offer and your doctor agrees you need the treatment, you can choose to come to us as Chris quite rightly points out.”

Read Chris’s full Facebook share:

“Please read this, and share if you wish, if you are in pain or know someone who is. We are meeting so many people who have knee, hip or shoulder pain and they have not heard of Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. They also do not realise that they can ask their doctor for a referral to a particular hospital.

“My Husband Nick had a total knee replacement eight months ago, at Peninsula, after many years of excruciating pain and today he doesn't even think about his knee. That is how good his operation was. He also had four keyhole surgeries on his left shoulder, by the same surgeon who operated on his knee, just under two weeks ago, and although he has around a three month healing process ahead, his original pains have gone already.

“A little something to think about: We met a gentleman, one day, and because he could see Nick's scar and he was walking with a crutch he asked him what his problem was. Obviously Nick explained his situation and the gentleman then admitted that he had the same painful problems with one of his knees but had never been advised to look into a healing process but also that he would be afraid of having an operation.

“I asked him how long he had been in pain, he said “for many years”. I then asked, “How many more years do you think you will be in pain?”, and he replied, “Forever I guess.” I then said “Please look at my husband.” At the time he was around three months into his healing and he is almost pain free already.

“Sadly we will never know if that gentleman did ever 'fight his battle' and ask for help but he did say he was glad he met Nick and thanked him for sharing his experience.

“Just one more example of how caring the staff are at Peninsula. My husband had his shoulder surgery early on a Sunday and because the cafe area was not open, at the time, the lovely receptionist brought me two hot drinks whilst I sat alone waiting for it to be done. It doesn't matter what job is carried out at Peninsula, every member of staff cares about patients. We cannot thank Peninsula enough for their care. Life is too short not to fight your own battle. Let Peninsula give you back your life. From Chris Harris, a wife who is so happy to see her husband almost pain free now. Thank you so much Peninsula.”

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