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Stroke victim’s anger over ‘postcode lottery’
7:30am Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A STROKE victim says a healthcare postcode lottery has left him unable to get lifechanging hospital treatment.
Michael Wilson, 65, of Perry Road, Benfleet, is desperate for a course of chiropractor treatment after suffering a stroke two years ago.
The stroke caused him to temporarily lose the use of an arm and leg, but when he recovered from that, he was left with crippling back pain.
Southend Hospital has put him through a number of treatments, including courses of medication, two painful epidurals and two courses of physiotherapy, but nothing has worked.
He thought he had found the answer when he used the last of his savings to pay privately for a chiropractor who greatly improved his condition immediately.
For the improvement to continue, he must undergo a full course of treatment, but he is unable to afford it. He has asked Castle Point’s Clinical Commissioning Group to fund the treatment, but the request was refused.
Mr Wilson said: “When I first had the stroke, I lost use of my leg and hand. It wasn’t easy, but I got it back. When I first went to a chiropractor, I couldn’t move my neck, but after the first session, I could. After leaving him, I could even run.”
“If I was in north Essex, I could get the treatment. This is supposed to be a national health service.
“I just want to get back to work. In 21 years of work, I only had five days off sick. I have never asked anyone for any money before, I’m not rich, but I never wanted to bother anyone.”
Mr Wilson added: “What I need costs £300, which isn’t much to ask for a lifetime of work.
“I have been coming up against a brick wall.”
Mr Wilson has spoken to Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, had his case referred to the Department of Health, and also to chief executive of NHS North and South Essex primary care trusts, Andrew Pike, but to no avail.
Mr Wilson added: “The treatment in Southend Hospital was great, but afterwards I have just been put on numerous fourmonth cycles of medication, which has not done anything.”
CASTLE Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group said they hadn’t seen enough evidence to suggest that chiropractic treatment would work.
Doctors at the group wouldn’t comment on Mr Wilson’s individual case, but said he could submit an individual funding request which considered exceptional circumstances. Mr Wilson said he had already done so and his request had been refused.
Dr Sunil Gupta, clinical accountable officer at the CCG, said: “To maximise the health gain for the local population within the finances available, there are restrictions on funding specific treatments that have insufficient evidence to show they are clinically effective.
“If there is evidence of an exceptional case, then the application will be reviewed by a panel made up of a trained lay person, a senior GP or executive nurse and a senior commissioner, with additional specialist input as required.”
Dr Gupta added: “The panel considers all clinical aspects of the patient's individual case to decide whether or not to make an exception to the policy for that patient.”
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