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.

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.

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 my being pre-diabetic and a higher risk. 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), although I was a priority, the op 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 were told that the cost of my op would be between £15 -£20k, which is way out of our reach. We even were considering a private bank loan as I was in so much pain.

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 (Military Fund Co-ordinator) who has throughout my journey been 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 op 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, we 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.


Centre for Veteran’s Health Grants and Subsidy

Since 1899 King Edward VII’s Hospital has supported members of the Armed Forces. We continue to uphold this commitment by providing subsidies for all uninsured service Personnel and their husbands and wives.

Depending on your income, medical needs, and our available funds, you could be eligible for support with your hospital fee. Find out more and how to apply.