Hip replacement procedures are among the most popular operations for people choosing to ‘go private’ for their treatment – especially for those opting for ‘self-pay’.

Ian’s story
The day of the hip operation
After the hip procedure
The recovery
Contact the hospital

If you are thinking of having a hip operation done privately – or are an NHS patient exercising your right to choose – our website can be used to find out more about the hospital where you could have the operation and the doctor (consultant) who will carry it out (see the search function on our homepage).

The profiles we publish for hospitals and consultants include information to help you make a more informed choice. They feature a selection of data, including fees and adverse event information. They also show patient feedback scores where there have been enough submitted. 

However, we know it is also reassuring to hear from patients who have already had the same procedure as you, so we’re happy to share this story from Ian, 70, who lives in Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

Ian’s story

“I began experiencing pain in my left hip in the autumn of 2021. This got progressively worse and by May 2022, walking and night pains had become severe both in my hip and immediately under my knee.

“My wife Amanda and I love to walk – we moved to our house in Shepton Mallet because it was so close to the Mendip Hills, and we walked an average of five miles a day. So keen are we that we volunteered with ‘Shepton Walks’, a local organisation that promotes Shepton as a great place for country walks.

“But the hip pain meant serious walking was out of the question and it began to affect my physical and mental health. It’s common for people to find work-arounds for these issues, and often it’s only retrospectively one realises how much the pain curtails your activities. I talked to family and friends and, as a result, I decided to do something about it in June 2022.

“My GP advised that I needed a total hip replacement, with an X-ray confirming the diagnosis.

“The waiting list on the NHS was about 12 months. Although for me it was not an acute pain, I had a constant residual pain which I was always conscious of, irrespective of what I was doing. It’s at the core of simply being and living and it fundamentally affects and curtails the things you want to do. I understand knee joint pain has a similar impact. I knew that waiting 12 months would weigh heavily on my mind and my way of life and that my physical and mental health would suffer as a result.

“This realisation gave me the impetus to seek a private initial consultation. I chose Practice Plus Group in Shepton Mallet because they had an ‘Outstanding’ CQC rating. It had very short waiting lists and our son had been well looked after there a few years earlier when he had surgery following a sports injury. They were also cheaper than other options – even than an NHS hospital in the region offering to treat privately.

“The prognosis of both NHS and private consultants were the same – at some time in the next few years I would need to have a hip replacement. It could be delayed with cortisone injections, but a hip replacement would ultimately be inevitable. However, taking into account my age and fitness they each expressed the view that the sooner I had the operation the more quickly I would recover from the surgery and be in a position to get the maximum benefit out of the operation.

“The next step was to see an anaesthetist who was particularly interested in the fact that I’d had heart issues a couple of decades before and had been taking medication ever since. She recommended an Echocardiogram (ECG) to confirm my cardiac fitness. This showed that I was fine to proceed and within a couple of days I had a phone call to book me in.

“I was sent a preoperative pack which was most helpful in explaining the process, risks, anaesthetic, skin cleansing, pain management, pre-op physio, etc., which relieved my anxiety.

The day of the hip operation

“On the day of the operation I was taken to the ward and shared a room with one other person who was having a knee replacement.

“We had staff visits during the early morning, preparing us, and a few hours later he, then I, were taken to the theatre suite.

“I was given a spinal anaesthetic – similar to an epidural – and transferred to the operating theatre. The operation itself took only 55 minutes and I was conscious throughout. Afterwards, I was taken to the recovery room.”

After the hip procedure

“About an hour later, I was taken back to the ward. Around four hours after the operation, the physio team visited and had me out of bed, walking on the spot with a Zimmer frame. I was amazed at both the lack of hip and knee pain and the fact that I could walk so soon after the surgery.

“I feel it’s important people understand the negatives of having a hip replacement but for me there were very few- I was sick a couple of times when coming out of the anaesthetic which the nursing team dealt with very professionally, and there was a lot of bruising. I had also read lots of advice online and in different literature about not crossing your legs which turns out to be because it can be painful and not so much, as I had assumed and feared, because it will make your new hip joint pop out!

“And my roommate? He was something of a ‘joint tourist’ and had had hip and knee replacements before at two other hospitals. He told me his experience at Practice Plus Group Shepton Mallet had been the best.”

The recovery

“I have made a fantastic recovery and am back walking almost five miles a day, including steep hills, and doing the exercises advised by the physiotherapist.

“From my very first visit, the care and consideration I received from the staff at the hospital was wonderful. Everyone I met in every role was wholly engaged as they performed it – receptionists, cleaners, x-ray technicians, nurses, doctors and other health professionals. My experience was extremely well managed.”

Contact the hospital

You can phone the Practice Plus Group hospital in Shepton Mallet on: 01749 440102

Find out more about the hospital on its PHIN profile


We are very grateful to Practice Plus Group – one of the hospital groups we collect data from – for sharing Ian’s story with us so that we can share it with you. However, please note that PHIN only provides information, we do not recommend individual providers, so you should make sure you consider all your options before deciding on your provider.

Some patients will base their choice on the price (if they are self-pay) of the procedure, others will follow the recommendations of their private medical insurer. Other patients will focus on the consultant’s experience or something about the hospital, such as its regulator rating or location and facilities.

It is important that you research all your options and make an informed decision that is right for you. We are sharing Ian’s story to give you a better idea of what your experience might be like, and so that you can ask relevant questions when discussing your healthcare options.

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