A woman is furious after learning she might have to travel outside Bristol for surgery.
Support worker Krystina Uhlyk, from Lawrence Weston, needs an operation for arthritis affecting her thumb.
But the 53-year-old says she faces a trip to Weston-super-Mare for the surgery as Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) is dealing with a backlog of referrals.
Miss Uhlyk, who does not drive, said: “I’m angry, thinking, ‘I’m a Bristolian – why can I not go to hospital in Bristol’?”
The mother-of-two said she has suffered from an arthritic joint for around a year.
“All the cartilage has gone now so it’s bone rubbing on bone,” she said, adding her job performance at residential home Humphry Repton House, in Brentry, is adversely affected.
“I’m right-handed and it affects me quite a lot because I’m a support worker so it’s a lot of physical work and it affects me doing my job to my full ability,” she said.
Miss Uhlyk told Bristol Live she was informed she would have to visit a hospital in December last year, with the expectation of treatment within 18 weeks.
She said she was given the choice of Weston General Hospital, Bath’s Royal United Hospital or the BRI, but she knew instantly what her preference would be.
‘I’m basically being forced out of Bristol’
“Obviously I chose the BRI due to being a Bristolian who’s lived here all my life and worked here all my life – and I don’t drive,” she said.
But Miss Uhlyk said she was left feeling “really, really annoyed” when it became clear she was being asked to look further afield.
“It came to 20 weeks and I received another referral letter saying BRI aren’t taking any more referrals and I need to choose somewhere else, so I’m basically being forced out of Bristol,” she said.
Comparing the Weston and Bath hospitals, Miss Uhlyk said the travel times from Bristol would be similar, but the former destination was perhaps more accessible by public transport.
However, both of those journeys are much less appealing than the prospect of a half-hour bus ride to the BRI, said Miss Uhlyk.
“The thing is, I work full-time so it’s hard for me to get time off and it’s going to cost me money and time to go to Weston and I will have to keep going back there if anything happens,” she said, describing her predicament as “soul-destroying”.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said: “We sincerely apologise for any distress caused by this situation.
“Our hand and wrist service receives a large number of referrals and we work together with our local healthcare partners and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) so patients receive their care in a timely way.
“We have been in contact with Krystina and will continue working to find the best possible outcome for her.”