Family’s despair at surgery delay

Debi Whitehorn. SUS-160420-235246008
Debi Whitehorn. SUS-160420-235246008

A Lewes woman who has waited more than two years for an essential operation is living in absolute agony and losing her confidence and bubbly personality, her daughter has said.

Anita Hyam, who lives on the Landport Estate, had an operation at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton two-and-a-half years ago to remove a cancerous lump on her intestine.

The operation was a success and Mrs Hyam was fitted with a stoma bag, which was due to be removed six months later.

However, due to delays and cancellations, Mrs Hyam still has the bag - and a number of complications caused by it.

Her daughter Debi Whitehorn said: “The hospital said it would be six months before she would have an operation to remove the bag. Two-and-a-half years on and she’s still got it.

“We were told there was a bit of a queue. We were 15th, then 13th in line. They told us cancer patients took priority, so because mum no longer had cancer, she had to wait.

“She now has two huge hernias caused by the stoma bag - one near the throat and one on her stomach that goes over her leg. She’s in agony. She can’t sit up because of the hernia near her leg and she can barely talk because of the one near her throat.

“Mum was in her late 60s when she had the operation. She worked in a tea rooms, which she loved, and was due to go on holiday with her sister. Now she’s 72, but this has turned her into an old lady. She can’t do anything - even if she drinks a cup of tea she’s in agony. She’s not the same woman and it’s horrible to see. The hospital aren’t doing anything to help.”

Mrs Hyam was due to have the removal operation in Guildford a couple of weeks ago but it was cancelled at the last minute as she was told the operation was ‘too complicated’ due to the hernias that have formed.

A spokesperson from the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Mrs Hyam is booked in for the operation she needs next month but we apologise unreservedly for the unacceptable length of time she has had to wait.

“This is certainly not the standard of care we want for our patients and we do not underestimate the distress and frustration this has caused her and her family, as well as the impact it may have had on her daily life.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @sussex_express

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Sussex Express - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.