hearing from more and more people who have been told that they can benefit from
the treatment, but that their Primary Care Trust is refusing to help them."
- are patients getting treatment on time?
Eyesight is one of the most important senses that we have,
and losing our vision can have a devastating effect.
Inside Out has discovered
that some health trusts will watch you go blind rather than fund the treatment
that could save your sight.
Fifty people a day lose their eyesight because
of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - a condition that can cause blindness
in as little as three weeks.
Drugs are now available which can treat AMD,
but elderly people are being forced to fund expensive treatments rather than receive
it on the NHS.
A report published by the Royal
National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) suggests that 90 per cent of Primary Care
Trusts are refusing to pay for these treatments.
black spot on this eye reveals AMD|
Steve Winyard from the
"We're hearing from more and more people who
have been told that they can benefit from the treatment, but that their Primary
Care Trust is refusing to help them.
"So they are faced with that
awful choice of having to raise cash, otherwise they will go blind."
Dieter Klander was diagnosed with AMD.
He was left with
no alternative but to pay privately for Lucentis, a drug which is costing him
around £2,000 per injection:
"It seems inconceivable
to go blind when there is treatment available that stops that process.
feel personally cheated and I think everybody else who's got this ailment feels
for treatment - Cecilia Olesen |
Cecilia Olesen was also diagnosed
with the disease and was refused treatment on the NHS.
Unable to afford
£2,000 for the drugs she needs, Cecilia is paying for a cheaper drug called
Avastin, an unlicensed drug which has never been properly tested:
much rather have a drug that's been tried and tested.
to think that you have paid into the system all these years, and now when you
need it you can't get any help."
Paying for healthy eyes
Andrew Lotery, a top Ophthalmologist, told Inside Out that he's angry that patients
are being forced to pay for this vital treatment:
Andrew Lotery - keen to make drugs freely available|
National Health Service as I understand it should be free at the point of access
and there shouldn't be a postcode lottery.
"So I'm very keen for these
drugs to become available on the NHS as soon as possible."
the Government is still assessing these new drugs, the Department Of Health says
this is not an excuse for refusing free treatments.
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