Protest of obese NHS worker

A NHS worker is so disgusted at Suffolk health bosses' decision to ban overweight people from having joint replacements that he has today cancelled his own operation in protest.

A NHS worker is so disgusted at Suffolk health bosses' decision to ban overweight people from having joint replacements that he has today cancelled his own operation in protest.

At the moment, no such ban is in place Dan Fearnley's home city of Oxford, but he has decided to cancel his ankle surgery out of principle.

The 37-year-old, who weighs 25 stone, said: “Right now, I get along with the aid of a stick, and I'll continue to do so.

“It may hurt, but if I wouldn't be worth treating in Suffolk, I don't want treatment.”


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Mr Fearnley received his ankle injury during military service and was due to have some bone trimmed off it to ease the pain.

He said: “It sounds silly and small, but it's the only meaningful gesture I could make.

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“My condition is painful but compared to what some of these poor people will have to put up with, it's nothing.

“It is blatant targeting and dehumanising of patients to save a few quid.”

Mr Fearnley works in an NHS administration post in his home city.

He said: “I have worked for the hip and knee team at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and know the levels of pain these patients have to endure.”

The Evening Star revealed last month how the cash-strapped East Suffolk PCTs have decided to stop anyone with a Body Mass Index of more than 30 from having joint replacement operations.

Dr Brian Keeble, director of public health, said: “There is some good science behind this. We know patients who are overweight and obese do worse after operations, particularly bigger and longer operations.

“People need to take much more responsibility for trying to look after their health, in partnership with their local doctor.”

Mr Fearnley said: “I don't deny that obesity is a risk when having an anaesthetic, but all these people deserve to be assessed individually. They don't deserve to just be lumped in to a group and dismissed.

“What's really hypocritical is that we are always being told that what's important for these people is to get them independent and mobile again, but these cuts are going to prevent many people being able to do that.”

What do you think of Mr Fearnley's actions? Have you been denied an operation in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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