"Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) and no funding"

About: Hampshire PCT Queen Alexandra Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I have a hip condition called Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) otherwise known as Hip Impingement. This condition is not rare and effects many young people in the UK but is very occasionally misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness. It means that there is excess bone in the hip joint and normally coupled with cartilage damage and can effect 1 or both hips. It is extremely painful. For many people a simple bump to a hip can bring the condition to light as in my case.

Since I started getting symptoms 16 months ago, I have had a nightmare of misdiagnosis and being passed from pillar to post. I have had physiotherapy and acupuncture for problems I don’t have, seen several different consultants that have told me there is nothing wrong and it’s all in my head. I went off sick from work as I was in so much pain, even though I am on very strong analgesics daily and due to my prolonged sickness I lost my job and am now on Employment and Support Allowance. I have also been teetering on the edge on depression as I started to believe it was all in my head.

Then after badgering my GP to send me to yet another consultant, someone started to believe me. I was then referred to a specialist who pin pointed my condition and referred me to yet another specialist. This time the consultant was amazing, he sent me for MRI with contrasting fluid just to confirm his beliefs and FAI was diagnosed. Treatment is a very simple day surgery keyhole operation. It has an 85% success rate and would mean that I could return to normal daily function off of medication and finally be able to be the 'normal' 22 year old I want to be, PAIN FREE :)

But (there is always a but) the local PCT has deemed this operation as LOW PRIORITY and so will not fund it due to lack of evidence. My consultant protested this decision by the PCT himself as he firmly believes that him operating on many of his young patients with FAI will be a break through. But he said that they will not listen unless the patients and local MP's stand up to them. The procedure is relatively new so they do not have year upon years of post op success and so cannot guarantee it will last a lifetime but I would rather have 20 years pain free able to work and have a life and POSSIBLY need a Hip replacement when I’m 40-50, than wait 20 years on medication everyday and still be in pain and off work and nearly guarantee needing a Hip replacement.

Looking at the facts it’s clear to see how much benefit there is in procedure being undertaken by the NHS. There was a local MP up north (Bradford) I believe that helped local sufferers to campaign against the decision and took it to the local news for further backing and consequently people in that PCT can now receive the procedure free (Approx cost privately is £5000 per hip). Part of the NHS constitution is that patients should be able to receive treatment they require where they wish and as is being made ever so more clearly to me this is not the case.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››