NHS Centre’s open day eased surgery fears for former runner

Putting his feet up and dreaming of playing bowls again is former runner Derrick Walker after his surgery.
Putting his feet up and dreaming of playing bowls again is former runner Derrick Walker after his surgery.

An open day at a treatment centre has helped a successful former runner and squash player from Shireoaks get back on his feet after surgery there.

Retired teacher educator Derrick Walker was such an accomplished athlete in his day that he won ‘Running’ magazine’s runner of the year award in 1984. He is also a former organiser of the Retford Half-Marathon.

However, he was sidelined after being diagnosed with arthritis in his right knee, and his GP referred him to Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre for an operation.

“Years of playing competitive sport took their toll,” said 67-year-old Derrick. “For many years, I also played squash four or five times a week, and the quick turning movements of that sport added to the damage.

“I had some trepidation about surgery. But about a week beforehand, I noticed the treatment centre was holding an open day, so it was perfect timing.”

The event was designed to show the local community behind the doors of operating theatres and wards, so Derrick went along.

“I met a surgeon, the theatre staff and ward and physio teams, and I was very reassured,” he said. “I toured the centre, watched a video on the procedure and listened to a talk on what to expect. As a patient, I was also given lots of clear information about my recovery.”

The operation went well, and Derrick, who is also a keen walker, cyclist, crown-green bowler and sequence dancer, is now following his recovery programme by strengthening his muscles.

“The centre’s physios gave me lots of tips and strategies on how to manage,” Derrick continued. “The whole team were like a family. Everyone had extensive knowledge.

“I am making good progress with my exercise routines. I am due for a follow-up appointment with the surgeon and physio this month, and I am looking forward to an arthritis-free knee and complete recovery over the next 18 months or so.

“I would like to express my appreciation of the organisational management that allows for such an effective, efficient and professional centre.”

The centre’s director, Steve Booker, said: “It is very rewarding to hear the impact both the team and the open day had for Derrick’s experience, treatment and recovery.

“If patients work with our physio, do their exercises before and after surgery and follow their consultant’s advice, they are usually delighted with the results.

“I would recommend anyone who feels nervous about medical procedures or who feels they may need surgery in the future to come along to one of our open days to meet the team, ask questions and look at how nice the centre’s wards and consulting rooms are. I think they will be pleasantly surprised.”