Grandfather back in the saddle thanks to new steps in health care

Colin Westwood back on his bike following his ankle joint replacement which was carried out in a day at North Tyneside General Hospital.
Colin Westwood back on his bike following his ankle joint replacement which was carried out in a day at North Tyneside General Hospital.

A cycle-mad grandfather has thanked hospital staff for getting him back on his bike so soon after a total ankle replacement.

Colin Westwood is back on two wheels after being in and out of North Tyneside General Hospital on the same day.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Townshend with Colin Westwood.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Townshend with Colin Westwood.

The 77-year-old, from Cramlington, is one of the first patients at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to undergo the procedure as a day-case, thanks to the use of innovative anaesthetic techniques.

Colin, who is back doing rides of more than 80 miles, said: “I absolutely love it. I’m really pleased to be back riding again as I couldn’t do without my bike.

“It makes me feel good and there’s nothing better than being out in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland on two wheels.

“I’m just so grateful that I’ve had this operation and I can get out and about like I used to.”

Total ankle replacements are much less common than knee and hip replacements, with only around 900 being carried out in the NHS every year.

The day-case ankle replacement follows a growing trend in orthopaedics at the trust as part of a multi-disciplinary, patient-focused programme, with many knee and hip, and even elbow, replacements being carried out as day-cases.

Colin, a former builder, has had a weakness in his left ankle since having a motorbike accident in his 20s. Over the years, arthritis developed and the pain had worsened, making getting around difficult.

Colin said: “I couldn’t have stood it much longer. I could hardly walk a couple of hundred yards for a bus and I had stopped going on my bike.

“I was really surprised when my consultant Mr Townshend said I could be in and out of hospital in a day, particularly as when I had both my knees replaced back in 2003 and 2004 I was in hospital a few days for each.

“However, things have moved on a great deal since then and I was really pleased to be back home the same day as, after all, it’s so much better being in your own surroundings rather than staying in hospital.”

Colin’s operation was performed by consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Townshend, who said: “As a trust we’ve made great strides in all types of surgery to increase the number of operations we’re able to carry out as day-cases.

“Within orthopaedics we’ve had particular success with our innovative anaesthetic techniques, enabling many patients having joint replacements to be able to go home the same day, which is so much better for them, provided they have support around them.

“This is down to having specialist members of the team at every step of the patient journey and preparing them as much as we can to make sure that everything is in place for a safe discharge home.”