Bone clinic is ‘under-used’ by local GPs

A Holbeach Hospital consultant says that people who need replacement hips and knees are being sent for appointments many miles away while his clinic is seriously under-used.

Orthopaedic surgeon Phil Heaton has called two meetings - one last night and one on October 31 - in a bid to get GPs in the area to refer patients to their local weekly orthopaedic outpatients’ clinic which he runs at Holbeach.

Mr Heaton, who is based at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, has been orthopaedic consultant to Holbeach Hospital for eight weeks and was shocked to find the clinic running at less than 50 percent of capacity.

He said: “A patient said last week if he’d not insisted on coming to Holbeach Hospital but gone to Nottingham as his doctor suggested, it would have cost him more than £40 in fares not to mention the time and discomfort of the travel.

“It seems quite wrong that sometimes elderly patients are being sent as far as Nottingham, Peterborough and Boston to see a consultant when they could just come down the road to Holbeach where there aren’t even any parking fees, and I aim to see them within one week of GPs’ referral with operations currently going ahead within eight weeks.”

Holbeach could be in danger of losing a number of specialist clinics including orthopaedic outpatients from its community hospital, according to Mr Heaton.

He said: “Mine is not the only clinic which is being under-used and I am concerned not only for the patients who are having to travel further than necessary but also for local people who work at the community hospital, whose jobs may be at risk as a result.

“I want to raise awareness that we’re here among patients as well as GPs.