David’s heart is put on the line
EX-RAF Warrant Officer David Hulbert has been refused an operation by the NHS to help fix his heart.
The 74-year-old of Penhill was told 15 months ago by his doctors that he needs an operation to help stop the chronic irregular heartbeat he was left with after a coronary bypass in 1995.
But before he can have the operation he needs his blood to be thinned to prevent him from suffering a stoke.
Allergic to blood-thinning drugs Warfarin and Phenindione and unable to take Dabigatran due to his renal failure, David was prescribed Apixaban as a final drug option.
But as a result of taking the drug, David suffered from significant bruising, and removing him from the drug meant that all pharmacological options had been exhausted.
This meant that the next option was an operation – a left atrial appendage occlusion - to fit a small device, described as a minute tea-strainer, in his heart.
David contacted his MP about the delay in granting funding for the treatment, but despite the unique position David is in, the NHS Individual Funding Request Panel refused to grant funding for the necessary operation on the grounds that it may pave the way for other people to request a similar procedure.
In a letter to Dr Timothy Betts, the IFR panel said: “The Panel considered the case carefully and noted in particular that the patient represented a cohort of patients who have a similar condition and who could potentially all request the same treatment.
“There was also limited evidence provided demonstrating clinical exceptionality and regrettably, the Screening Panel did not agree that your request should go forward.”
David was both angry and disappointed to receive the news.
He said: “It’s like saying that they won’t give me a flu jab because other people might get the flu.
“The letter is so ambiguous.
“And where is the Military Covenant? I feel really let down by the NHS. It’s not right.
“The medical staff both at Hawthorn Medical Centre and my consultant have been superb, and the support from Justin Tomlinson and his staff has been fantastic.
“It’s the financial body and their decision that I’m angry with.”
David has also been in touch with his MP about the time it has taken for the Panel to reach their decision.
North Swindon MP, Justin Tomlinson, said: “I did all I could to support Mr Hulbert’s request for this surgery, raising it directly with the decision makers in the NHS at the highest level. I am disappointed by their decision not to offer him this procedure and I am sorry to hear that he is now considering legal action. I will of course do all I can to continue to support him in his fight.”
An NHS England spokesman said: "NHS England regrets the distress that this patient is experiencing.
“We are unable to discuss the individual circumstances of this particular case due to patient confidentiality, but can advise that clinicians very carefully consider each treatment and make a judgement based on the clinical effectiveness of each potential treatment for their patient. If any patient is unhappy with the treatment they receive we have a clearly defined and transparent complaints procedure.”
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