IT is six months since Jim Paton was placed on the waiting list for a hip replacement.

The 65-year-old from West Kilbride was referred to Crosshouse in March but the backlog is so severe that he was recently told he could not get an operation slot with his surgeon until at least March 2020.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran are now paying to send him to the private Nuffield Hospital in Glasgow instead.

He is scheduled to have his right hip replaced there on Thursday [Sept 26].

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Mr Paton said: "My surgeon's secretary phoned. She said that the Nuffield in Glasgow had cancellations and did I want them to put my name forward for that.

"I said yes, and I've since been up to the Nuffield to meet the surgeon there, I've had my pre-op, and I'm getting the operation done on the 26th.

"I liked the surgeon I had at Crosshouse, I was quite looking forward to him doing the operation. But when I asked if I waited for him how long it would be, and she said it would be March - a full year from when I was referred.

"I just want it done."

The grandfather-of-two and golf club manager was first X-rayed three years ago, when scans revealed severe cartilage loss in his right hip and wear in the left.

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He carried on working despite the pain and discomfort before finally being signed off sick a month ago.

He is due to retire in 2020 and is looking forward to spending more time with his two grand-daughters, both born this year.

"I had a problem with my stomach years ago so I don't like taking painkillers, but when I walk I clunk. There's no cartilage between the bone.

"It's not agony but I'm in discomfort and at times when you go to put your socks and shoes on, that's when you really notice it. It's like what Andy Murray was talking about.

"I'll wake up at night with pain and if I'm walking the dog for half an hour it's uncomfortable."

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He stressed that his family have had great care from the NHS - his grand-daughter was born early at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary this year due to pre-eclampsia.

However, he feels it is unfair that he would probably have been operated on already if he had been sent to Ayr.

"It's totally unfair on Crosshouse if they're having to pick up the slack all the time," said Mr Paton. "My next door neighbour who's 90 fell on her porch one night going to play Bridge and she was operated on within two days.

"So I'm waiting months to get this done and she falls and it's fixed in two days.

“Ayr will always do better if they’re not dealing with those cases.

"I wouldn't want to blame the staff at Crosshouse for any of it, they've been great. It's the managers and the ones picking up the big salaries who aren't organising things properly."