Perfect week put social care worker back on his feet

7 November 2020

A social care worker from Dagenham is back on his feet and getting used to walking without a stick thanks to a collaboration between Practice Plus Group Hospital, Ilford, and the Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUHT), which saw 250 orthopaedic procedures carried out in one week.Robert Cardoso

Known as Perfect Week, the concentrated week of surgery at the hospital – formerly known as North East London NHS Treatment Centre – was designed to reduce waiting times for orthopaedic surgery across the three London boroughs. Mr Robert Cardoso, 57, was one of those lifted out of pain by the initiative that consultants hope they will be able to replicate in the future.

Mr Cardoso, who received a new left hip joint, said: “The pain had come on over five years. I had visited my GP first in 2015. I had X-rays and other treatments but the degeneration continued. I love sports and walking but in the end I could only walk short distances with the aid of a stick and it was incredibly painful.

“I work for Westminster Council and the team there were great, supporting me constructively. I was also given a Transport for London badge that showed I needed a seat and I tried to avoid public transport during peak hours.

“The pain got so bad that, if I did need to drive, I would try to hire automatics as the on and off action of the clutch pedal, especially in heavy traffic, made driving uncomfortable.”

Mr Cardoso also struggled to sleep at night and was taking strong prescribed anti-inflammatory medication that caused his blood pressure to require treatment too.

A hip replacement operation was cancelled at the start of the pandemic, and so he was delighted when he received the call from Ilford Hospital to say he could receive surgery at the beginning of October.

He said: “I was so pleased to hear I could have NHS surgery. By this point I had no quality of life.”

He was delighted with the treatment he received, which he describes as excellent, from the moment he walked through the door.

He is now working hard at his physiotherapy rehabilitation programme and he is looking for to getting back to the long walks he loves.

Hospital medical director Nurul Ahad said: “Mr Cardoso is getting on well and he is benefitting from his commitment to his exercises. Osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear and sometimes common within families can be excruciatingly painful and debilitating, robbing people of their ability to do the things they love.

“The good news is that there is no need to be in pain. With modern techniques we can carry surgery out under-regional anaesthetics which means that some patients can go home on the day with a new hip and on the road to a new lease of life.”