Sight-saving operation cancelled

04 November 2009 11:30
A college lecturer has had an operation to save her vision cancelled at the last minute after a funding mix-up.Meirwen Davies, 65, from Caerphilly, was due to have corneal transplant surgery at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, on 11 November. [LNB]ABM University Health Board said it had sent paperwork for the operation to Aneurin Bevan Health Board. [LNB]But Aneurin Bevan Health Board said it had had no request, and it is asking ABM for information. [LNB]After the cancellation, Mrs Davies's consultant said he had been told not to go ahead with it until funding was in place.[LNB] I'm being told not to worry and the minister is treating it as urgent... I really can't understand why it has been cancelled Meirwen Davies Health Minister Edwina Hart has been approached about the case and has asked officials to investigate. [LNB]Aneurin Bevan Health Board confirmed that because this procedure is not part of normal arrangements, it will have to be considered before it can be granted. [LNB]Mrs Davies was diagnosed with Fuchs' corneal dystrophy in 2007 in her right eye and told she would need surgery to save her sight, as she can only see out of that eye. [LNB]The condition causes cells in the inner layer of the cornea to die. [LNB]Mrs Davies has already suffered delays because of a mix-up with appointments at the University Hospital of Wales, and had then made arrangements to see a surgeon in Bristol. [LNB]But cross-border funding issues meant she was unable to go ahead with the operation there.[LNB]The new corneal graft technique has been used at Singleton for a yearIn February this year she was put on a waiting list at Singleton Hospital for a recently-introduced corneal graft technique which minimises side effects. [LNB]On 14 October the hospital telephoned Mrs Davies saying the operation was scheduled for 11 November, but the following week Mrs Davies received a letter informing her it had been cancelled. [LNB]"I had a letter the next day from the surgeon saying he had been instructed not to carry out the operation until such time as the funding was confirmed," Mrs Davies said. [LNB]"I rang the health board and they said they knew nothing about the case. Because I started off in Cardiff, I assumed the funding would follow me." [LNB]Her local AM contacted the health minister who has ordered an investigation, but Mrs Davies is still no clearer about if or when the procedure will take place. [LNB]"I'm being told not to worry and the minister is treating it as urgent. I really can't understand why it has been cancelled," she added. [LNB]'Blurry outline'[LNB]In the meantime, Mrs Davies' sight had deteriorated to the point that she was forced to give up working as an A-level exam marker because she could not do the job quickly enough with the visual aids she now requires to read. [LNB]However with support from her husband, colleagues and students, she has continued to teach at Cardiff Academy, an independent sixth-form college. [LNB]"This takes the form of my students reading my notes, and their work, to me as my sight is so poor now," she explained. [LNB]"I am still teaching because the college has been so supportive but I'd like to get back into the marking. [LNB]"It's got to the stage where my husband has got to take me to work - everything is just a blurry outline." [LNB]ABM University Health Board, which runs Singleton, said in a statement the new procedure did not fall under long-term arrangements with neighbouring health boards for treatments, and it needed to confirm funding with the referring health board. [LNB]"We are processing this request immediately, which will need to be considered and approved by the patient's health board. The paperwork has been sent to the patient's health board." [LNB]A spokesman for the assembly government said: "While it would be inappropriate to comment on individual patients, we can confirm that the Health Minister Edwina Hart has had correspondence from the patient's assembly member. [LNB]"The minister has asked officials to investigate the issue."

Source: BBC_Sport