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Video: Wirral pensioner in agony considered Dignitas euthanasia after hip replacement cancelled 3rd time

Jan Holbrook told Skwawkbox of the physical and emotional agony of continued delays. Millions are in similar situations as government hides cuts behind pandemic

Wirral pensioner Jan Holbrook investigated managed suicide via Swiss company Dignitas after her local hospital cancelled her hip replacement surgery for the third time, just days before it was scheduled to take place, she told Skwawkbox. Wirral University Teaching Hospital said it had cancelled Holbrook’s operation and others to convert the ward into a medical ward for emergency admissions.

Ms Holbrook told Skwawkbox that the pain she had been in was unbearable and that the hospital’s claim that it had conducted a full clinical assessment before the cancellation was untrue, as she had not been contacted about the impact it would have on her and that the unbearable pain had shrunk her existence and left her almost housebound.

She said that she first considered using the Dignitas service when the initial surgery schedule was scrapped about a year ago but had abandoned the plan because of the pain it would cause her family – but that she found herself back in the same mindset now, after the latest op was cancelled just six days before it was scheduled:

A hospital spokesperson said:

Unfortunately due to pressures in the Emergency Department and increased COVID-19 patients, an elective orthopaedic ward at Arrowe Park Hospital had to be converted to a medical ward to accommodate our emergency patients. We plan to convert the ward back as soon as we can and will reschedule any cancelled patients as a priority. 

If we can, we transfer orthopaedic elective patients to our Clatterbridge Hospital site but unfortunately for some patients with complex medical conditions, this is not possible.

While we would not comment on any individual’s care due to patient confidentiality, we are sorry for any distress suffered or disappointment. We only make decisions to cancel procedures when it is absolutely necessary and following a full clinical assessment of each patient affected. We would be happy to speak to the patient to discuss any decision making or clinical review and potential rescheduling.

Ms Holbrook said the hospital had been in touch since Skwawkbox’s enquiry to say it would reschedule the operation as quickly as possible, but had not given any idea of how soon this might be.


More than six million people are currently on waiting lists for treatment, with waiting times up to years. The government has tried to attribute this to the pandemic, but waiting lists were at record highs long before the pandemic – and the Tories have in fact cut the number of hospital beds during the pandemic – by a staggering 2.7 million ‘bed days’ per year. The struggles of the NHS to cope are entirely planned – and the suffering of huge numbers of people like Jan Holbrook is inflicted by conscious cruelty.

If you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm, you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123, email them at or visit to find your nearest branch.

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