Local CCG won't fund my Bunion Surgery.

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This will probably only be of interest to UK Forum members - but seems to be a result of serious NHS funding issues.

Background: I'm 69 and had Spinal Surgery 3 years ago which has left me with mobility issues (Blue Badge etc) and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about 18 months ago. About 9 months ago I noticed that my big toes were starting to drift inwards (my big toes, when my feet are placed together, are now at 90 degrees to each other - a big "V"wink.

My GP referred me to a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who recommended Surgery as the problem would only get worse if left unattended to. Besides the obvious poor walking stance, I also get severe stabbing pains in the swellings themselves.

My local Clinical Commisioning Group (the holders of the purse-strings) have refused to fund the surgery as they consider that I haven't suffered for long enough.

My Consultant's Secretary has told me (informally) that the CCG rarely fund any surgery on feet, but she couldn't explain why!

Has any other UK Forum member come across a similar refusal from their local CCG? I've asked my Consultant to appeal the decision, but don't know how much longer I've got to put up with the pain without surgery.    

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Mike

    Wow I'm surprised you havnt had funding considering your feet are causing you bother!!

    I had my left foot done in June this year after visiting my GP. I didn't have a problem. I live in Cumbria. I stated to my GP that I got some pain and shoe fitting was difficult. I'd had my bunion for over 30 years. I noticed it when I was about 10 and I'm nearly 40 now.

    Just the other week I was told I can have my right foot done and this was without any battle. Again I just explained I had discomfort and also find it difficult to wear shoes other than really old fashioned styles that cover my ugly feet.

    Admittedly there's a huge element of my feet looking cosmetically nice too but I've seen my mums feet and I wouldn't like my bunions to get like that when I'm older.

    Good luck with the appeal. At least there's hope!!! I really do hope you get the funding. Maybe it's a postcode lottery situation?

    I had mine done at North tyneside hospital with an ankle block and sedation. It was minimally invasive and I can honestly say it was practically painless. I kept waiting for the pain to come and it never did. Just at week 3 I was getting some sore pains under my big toe but was told it was just the nerves knotting back together.

    Good luck and keep us informed

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of your difficulties but yes you are correct. Unless severe I understand the NHS no longer funds bunion surgery. I had mine done this year but my feet were extremely deformed as I had left them for many years. Keep appealing.
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  • Posted

    I'm sorry to hear that the insurance will not pay.Are they submitting as bunion surgery or H.V.? Bunion surgery I think they might consider cosmetic. I know nothing of your insurance .I would just see .

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    • Posted

      This is a NHS situation - not Insurance! As Fiona has commented, Bunion / Hallux Valgus surgery appears to be a condition that NHS don't care about. The fact that Quality of Life is being eroded here is of no consequence. That said, I'm not going to let this lay down - I shall fight the decision as far as my MP if necessary (although a fat lot of good that will probably do me I expect!)

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    • Posted

      Hi Mike. Happy New year.

      I got my left foot done on the NHS. I had no battle at all to get it done on NHS. I just told my GP about the pain side of it and the lack of variety of shoes I could wear.

      When it came to getting my right foot done my surgeon said at my left foots last appt that if I wanted my right foot doing I would have to think if it was worth it as it wasn't that bad. He also mentioned that funding was tight anyway. I think he more or less was saying it's not bad enough to warrant getting my right one done.

      He told me to go away and think about it but I felt I had to go away and think about it but I felt like saying there and then look I have odd alien feet now I have one nice and one ugly and want it doing yesterday.

      Anyway I went away for a week and thought I need this doing. I went to my GP and asked to be referred. Anyway I had to wait about 2 months for a decision. I was sweating worrying about not getting funding. Luckily I got an appt in post to see my surgeon and knew funding had been past! I'm looking at April for a slot. I cannot wait for bunion pain free feet and nice even looking feet not odd alien feet lol.

      I had enquired private costs and they were 7k!!! Ridiculous but to be honest it would have been worth it for nice bunion pain free feet. I'd just have to have had a win on the lottery first 😀.

      Don't get my wrong. 6 months down the line and my foot isn't pain free. Where the bunion was is numb but not as numb as it was. It takes a very long time to heel. I have a pinned big toe that just stays there so certain high heels are a no no. I literally wear heels a few times a year anyway so it's no hard cheese!! I feel my foot will never feel like my old foot. I think I will always have niggling discomfort there but worth it as the bunion pain has gone and instead I have discomfort at times but nothing like it was. I'm so over the moon with my new foot and look at it everyday and can't believe my eyes after 30 years I have my dream foot. My only complaint is that I have quite a gap between my big toe and toe next to it but to be expected after 30 years of my big toe being squashed over to my other toes. It's not as bad as it was but it annoys me. I'm a perfectionist tho and doesn't help. I was so desperate for a beautiful foot. I don't want to sound ungrateful but I'm obsessed with my feet now. I'm always buffing them and painting my nails now I can show them off.

      Please do not give up though Mike. You need to really push the GP to explain how bad your feet are for your appeal and that they'll just get worse over time. Like I say maybe a post code lottery situation?? Where do u live?

      I wish you lots of luck with the appeal and you keep fighting until they say YES!! I definately would. I was ready for a fight if funding had been turned down!

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    • Posted

      Good luck for April Ophir it goes ok. My 1st foot after op looks fab. The 2nd foot does not look as good but is totally pain free where as the 1st one still niggles. But I am so grateful that I can walk for miles where as before I could only walk with painkillers.
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    • Posted

      Oh wow lucky you to have had both feet done. I see it as I'm half way there!!! 😀.

      Yours must have been painful before the op. Mine would be awful if I'd walked too long in shoes that I shouldn't have been wearing in the first place!!

      I'm looking forward to sandles feet this summer 😀. Way too excited to wait just dreading in 6 weeks in a sexy surgical shoe and the difficulty of not driving for 6 weeks. I have 3 children to ferry around on school runs and family live away from me! I'm hoping to time it for the easter holidays which is two weeks then there's just 4 weeks to muddle thru. My mum will come and stay and I have my hubby to help too so I'm sure we will get around it but I'm sure there's times I will be stuck 😕.

      I was lucky with left foot as it's automatic so just had the 2 weeks of foot elevated then I drove as I didn't need my left foot!!! Right foot is different as I need it for the brake and accelerator.

      How come one foot turned out better than the other? Was one worse than the other? Was it keyhole?

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    • Posted

      I had the 1st one done 29.1.16 it was ouch!!!! 2nd one done 2.9.16. I knew what was coming so not as traumatic. The surgeon warns prior to surgery that the feet may not look the same , may be worse may be better. It is totally pain free which is amazing but aesthetically does not look as straight. But in sandals all is ok. It took 6 months for final version so I still have 2 months to go. I also wear tor seperaters as I am paranoid the bunions will grow back. I met someone who that happened to 😱

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    • Posted

      My right foot was worse then my left I had pretty much foot reconstruction. I'm very thankful to have had it done. I did Hypercure in both Ancles witch insurance didn't pay. I've been in a boot and surgical shoe since October .Right foot I'm wearing tennis shoe Left foot still hurts but getting better everyday.Still limping lol.But even how bad this surgery was for me ,I no I had know choice. It not only hurts.It looks bad to have ugly hurting feet.. Good luck on y'alls surgery's it was worth it to me.Still recovering!!

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  • Posted

    Well, two months on from my original post - I appealed their negative decision to the CCG in conjunction with my Orthopaedic Consultant, Rheumatologist and GP and last week heard that their initial decision had been reversed and the Surgery could take place!!!!

    I've got a Surgery date of 20th March and can't wait! Whilst the Surgery is for my right foot, the left one is as badly deformed and would dearly like to have both done at the same time, if my Consultant will agree.

    What I'd like some advice from Forum Members is what are the implications of having both "done" at the same time? Has anyone on here had this done or looked after someone who has? I'd rather have one period of convalescence / recovery than two for obvious reasons.

    Any thoughts gang?

    All contributions gratefully received. Onwards and Upwards!!!

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    • Posted

      Wow Mike congratulations on getting your appeal sorted.

      Did your surgery go ahead? Did u get both feet done at same time? I couldn't have done that. No way!! It was hard enough getting around with one good foot!!!!

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