notification Created with Sketch. CORONAVIRUS: We are still taking precautions to keep you safe Coronavirus (Respiratory infections) Update

Gail’s story

Gail Burfitt is British Veteran who served in the Royal Air Force.  Read more about how King Edward VII’s Hospital helped her with a Hip replacement as a recipient of the Veterans’ Grant.

Struggling with osteoarthritis

I served in the Royal Air Force for 9 years within specialist comms and was discharged in February 1987. I have always been really sporty & active and was a Prison Service PTI for 17 years after leaving the military.

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the right hip in October 2021. I was due to have NHS treatment at a treatment centre on 30th November 2022, but the week before following pre-op blood tests, I was told they would not perform my right hip replacement due to being pre-diabetic and therefore being a higher risk patient. I had to be re-referred back to the NHS only to be told even though my hip pain was so severe (I was walking with crutches and I was on a lot of morphine & other meds), that although I was a priority, the operation would not be scheduled for another 12-18 months.

This not only affected my physical health, but also my mental health. I contacted private hospitals and was told that the cost of the operation would be between £15k -£20k, which was way out of reach. I even were considering a private bank loan as I was in so much pain.

Support from the Centre for Veterans' Health

I contacted the RAF Benevolent Fund and was advised of the Veterans’ Military Grant Fund at King Edward VII’s Hospital. I contacted them mid-December and spoke with Caroline Dunne, Centre for Veterans’ Health Co-ordinator, who throughout my journey was supportive, excellent and extremely proactive; she advised me of the process to apply. I filled out a few online forms, including financial details and sent copies of bank statements through.

My application was then considered in February 2023 and I was extremely pleased to be informed my application for a full grant had been approved. I was then sent details for a consultation at King Edward VII’s Hospital in March 2023 and met with Consultant Hip Surgeon Mr Emeka Oragui. I was then scheduled very quickly and subsequently had my operation on 29th April 2023, which has been extremely successful.

All the ward staff at King Edward VII’s Hospital, Mr Oragui’s care and practice, alongside my anaesthetist Mrs Caroline Smith, were amazing; nothing was too much trouble. I spent 2 nights at King Edward VII’s Hospital and have nothing but praise, admiration & my sincere thanks to all who supported me on my journey and for giving me my life back.

I didn’t feel that opportunities for someone normal just like me were possible. The positive outcome is life changing and I am now mobile & pain free. This has allowed me to return to normal life activities, to care for my horses, cats and dogs, to undertake pain free physical activity and to return to work.

Thank you to King Edward VII’s Hospital, Mr Oragui and the Veterans’ Military Grant and Caroline, without which this would not have been possible.

Help support our charitable work with Armed Forces veterans

Are you inspired by Gail’s story and wish to make a donation to the Centre for Veterans’ Health?

100% of donation to the Centre for Veterans’ Health, go directly to support veterans.

Donate now