Private healthcare: A patient’s experience of surgery

(L-R): Matthew Hall with David Vincent (c) Chris Balcombe

(L-R): Matthew Hall with David Vincent (c) Chris Balcombe - Credit: Chris Balcombe

Thinking about having surgery in a private setting but you’re unsure where to start? Or anxious about what an operation will entail? We talk to David Vincent, a former patient of the Kingston Wing and Matthew Hall, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Clinical Director of the wing

David Vincent in Kingston Wing waiting area (c) Chris Balcombe

David Vincent in Kingston Wing waiting area (c) Chris Balcombe - Credit: Chris Balcombe

How do I choose a surgeon?

Having treatment or surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, so it’s best to enter into it feeling comfortable and confident.

It’s always advisable to do as much research as possible prior to booking in for surgery. Researching online is a great place to start – you’ll be able to find countless reviews and plenty of information to help you make an informed decision about which hospital to visit and which surgeon to choose. Seeking recommendations from friends and family can help point you in the right direction. Your healthcare insurance company may also provide advice to help make up your mind.

Booking a consultation with your prospective doctor or surgeon will give you the opportunity to meet the specialist and ask plenty of questions, allowing the surgeon to talk through what you should do when preparing for surgery, the operation, after-care and recovery. This appointment should put your mind at ease and help you make up your mind as to whether you’re happy to go through with the surgery, and whether you’re happy to go through it with your chosen surgeon.

Feeling a lot of pain and unable to continue taking part in all the sport he had enjoyed throughout his life, David Vincent, 63, from East Chinnock, had surgery on both his hips (the first in October 2017 and the second in May 2018). Through word-of-mouth and online research, he booked a consultation with orthopaedic surgeon Matthew Hall on the Kingston Wing, Yeovil Hospital. David says, “Matthew was highly recommended to me and I arranged an appointment straight away. He made me feel completely comfortable and reassured, talking me through what the operation would entail.”

Matthew Hall adds, “My personal philosophy for treating patients is it’s really important to ge t your patient on board with you as their surgeon – it’s paramount that your patient has the confidence in you. It’s my job to make the patient feel comfortable and happy by explaining the surgery and talking through the recovery period, understanding the patient’s aims and developing an individualised care plan.”

(L-R): Hannah Pitman, Private Patient Services Manager, Champika Dona, Kingston Wing Sister, Matthew

(L-R): Hannah Pitman, Private Patient Services Manager, Champika Dona, Kingston Wing Sister, Matthew Hall, Orthopaedic Consultant and Sophie Sennett, Kingston Wing Business Manager (c) Chris Balcombe - Credit: Chris Balcombe

How will surgery help me?

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Playing a lot of rugby, football and squash, and leading a generally active lifestyle, David Vincent began experiencing hip pain and found himself unable to carry out everyday tasks, let alone participate in all the sport he’d like to continue.

“Sport to me is paramount. I was getting to the point when even bending over to put my shoes on and tie my laces up was becoming painful. That’s when I knew I had to do something.

“I was petrified that if I had the operation I wouldn’t be able to play tennis again, which I love; but Matthew put my fears aside and told me my life can go on. That’s been proven as I now regularly play tennis without a hiccup.”

As it has in David’s case, surgery can make a huge difference to quality of life. He continues, “I actually bump into other people now and they ask ‘How did you get on? I’m thinking about getting my hip done’. I would immediately tell them, don’t hang about as your quality of life will improve no end. I’m able to stand up straight again.”

How long will it take me to recover after surgery?

It’s difficult for anyone to predict how long it’ll take for a patient to recover after surgery. Dependent on a number of factors, each individual will have a different timeline when it comes to the recovery process. Your surgeon will be able to guide you through your recovery; giving you advice on how to heal properly and getting back on your feet.

Matthew Hall echoes this, “Everyone is different. I see it as my job to oversee and facilitate the right, reasonable recovery process for each individual patient.

“I strongly believe patients will do much better in their recovery from surgery if they’re fully informed of what to expect and how things are going to progress in the next few weeks and months after their surgery.”

Nursing and aftercare is extremely important to the dedicated team at the Kingston Wing and they want to ensure each patient feels comfortable, relaxed and in control of their recovery following surgery. Every individual is different and staff ensure care is tailored to them.

David added, “The care I received from all the staff on the ward was exceptional throughout. I cannot thank them enough.”

After leaving the hospital, patients are contacted by staff to check their progress and patients are able to ask any questions or queries. Matthew adds, “We don’t want patients to feel as though it’s just about the operation – it’s a complete package of care – if patients feel positive and comfortable in their rehabilitation, they’re more likely to heal better.

“We want our patients to stop feeling like patients, and feel like themselves again.”

The Kingston Wing provides private healthcare and medical services to those with private medical insurance or those who are self-funding their treatment. The Kingston Wing is based in Yeovil Hospital in Higher Kingston, Yeovil. To find out more, visit the website or get in touch online.

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