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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 11:13 GMT
NHS row woman undergoes surgery
Margaret Dixon
Mrs Dixon was in constant pain
The pensioner who became the focus of a political row over the NHS after her shoulder operation was repeatedly cancelled has undergone surgery.

Margaret Dixon is being treated at Warrington General Hospital following her surgery on Wednesday.

The Tories highlighted Mrs Dixon's case after she claimed surgery on her broken shoulder was cancelled seven times.

The hospital said it was cancelled three times, due to unavailability of a high dependency bed.

The family are ecstatic
Lindsay Dixon
The Tories argued Mrs Dixon's case highlighted Labour's failure to address the problem of cancelled NHS operations.

Tory leader Michael Howard brought the case up during Prime Minister's Questions, and then held a press conference with the Dixon family the following day.

However, Prime Minister Tony Blair accused the Tories of using an isolated case to try to run down the whole health service.

Mrs Dixon, 69, needed an operation to rebuild her shoulder, and relieve constant pain.

In most circumstances the operation would have been routine.

But Mrs Dixon had a heart condition, which meant there was a high chance that she would not survive surgery.

As a result, surgeons could only press ahead if a high dependency unit (HDU) bed was available to provide specialist care.

However, there was high demand for use of these beds from critically ill patients.

Family joy

Lindsay Dixon
Lindsay Dixon is delighted
The operation was not due to take place until next week but was brought forward by the hospital.

Mrs Dixon's daughter Lindsay said the surgery had been a success.

"The family are ecstatic. We are so relieved.

"She went in hospital yesterday morning. The hospital had a window of opportunity which they gave us and she's had the operation.

"She's comfortable at the moment. We saw her yesterday for about ten minutes and she was feeling a bit groggy, but I rang this morning and she is comfortable.

"I'm really looking forward to going to see her.

"It has been a very, very hard time, but everybody in the hospital has been fantastic."

Lindsey Dixon talks about her mother's operation

Blair's anger at pensioner op row
04 Mar 05 |  Politics
Tories 'using op case as stunt'
03 Mar 05 |  Politics
Howard and Blair clash over NHS
02 Mar 05 |  Politics
Dixon case only the latest
03 Mar 05 |  Politics

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