An elderly woman who desperately needs a knee replacement says she may have to miss the operation because she can’t get to hospital.

Joyce Smith, 85, from Newsome, has to use specialist equipment to move about and hoped the procedure would solve some of her mobility issues.

But after being told by the pre-assessment unit at HRI that she falls outside criteria for free patient transport the frustrated great-grandmother is wondering whether she should simply struggle on with her pain.

“I’m at a loss,” she said.

“I don’t know how they’ve managed to assess me. The last six months have been really bad, and it’s getting worse.

Joyce Smith, 85, of Newsome, who is due a knee replacement operation but doesn't meet the NHS criteria for transport to the hospital.

“Even in the house I have got a frame, a little wheelie thing that I use to hobble about. I can’t manage without it.

“How am I going to get from my door into a taxi? What happens when I get back after the operation? I need help, I really do.”

NHS guidelines say people are eligible for non-emergency patient transport services if they find it difficult to walk.

However regulations mean people in West Yorkshire cannot book their own transport. Instead it must be arranged by a GP or by the hospital carrying out the operation or procedure.

Widowed Joyce, a mum-of-three, grandmother-of-six and great-grandmother to six, said both her GP and her surgeon’s secretary had attempted to organise transport, but to no avail. She expects to be in hospital for three to four days, followed by a period of recuperation at home.

Joyce said she is stuck as her children live away and friends and neighbours are mostly on holiday for half-term. Her only option is a taxi costing in the region of £13.

Joyce Smith, 85, of Newsome, who is due a knee replacement operation but doesn't meet the NHS criteria for transport to the hospital.

“If I was able to I’d say ‘shove it’ and not bother going. I have to be at the hospital in Halifax next Tuesday for seven o’clock in the morning. I’m going to have to be up at 5.30am for a shower. I don’t move that quickly. I have to take my time with everything I do.

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“They said ‘Bring as little as possible’. So I cannot take any of my equipment. I don’t think an 85-year-old should be suffering like this.

“It’s a bit of a beggar.”