Bowthorpe mum raises questions over epidural service

A Bowthorpe mother has told how she has been left in excruciating pain for months after her hospital appointment was cancelled six times.

Activity instructor Anne Huckle says she has had to put her life on hold and cannot work because the orthopadic triage service providing the epidural injection she desperately needs has been axed at Norwich Community Hospital.

Norwich Community Health and Care (NCH&C), which runs the service, confirmed that it is not offering the injections, and said the service was currently under review.

Miss Huckle, who lives in Edrich Way, Chapel Break, with her partner Graham Symons, said she first started experiencing pain in her lower back after giving birth to her son Benjamin two and half years ago.

She said: 'I had a swelling at the base of my spine which was very uncomfortable and it made it difficult to walk, but nobody would listen to me.

'Last June, we went on a camping trip because we both love being outdoors, and I couldn't get up off the floor.'

Eventually, it was discovered that Miss Huckle's sacrum, the bone at the base of the spine, had been pushed at a right angle during childbirth and she was told she would need an epidural.

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She said: 'I had to cancel two appointments, one because I had to be a witness in court and the other because my son ended up in hospital, but they cancelled six of my appointments.

'I can't work because I can't sit for any length of time and standing is also awkward.'

Miss Huckle said she had now been referred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but had been told there was a large waiting list and she would not be able to have an epidural until the end of April - almost 10 months since she was first referred.

Linda Clarke, NCH&C's head of specialist therapies, said: 'I can confirm that NCH&C is not currently offering epidural injections as part of its orthopaedic triage service, while we discuss the content of this service with local commissioning body, NHS Norfolk.

'We are currently in talks about how we may further improve this service in the future, including the possibility of providing epidural injections on a permanent basis. Other areas of the service remain unaffected and patients requiring an epidural injection can continue to access these from other providers.'

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