Retired North Wales Nurse Denied Vital Brain Surgery
A retired North Wales nurse has been denied vital treatment in England because a Welsh health body will not pay for it.
In another health postcode lottery row mother-of-two Glenys Hancock cannot get treatment recommended by her neurosurgeon to improve her quality of life, despite an appeal.
Mrs Hancock is unable to write or even put on her make-up because of a dystonic tremor to her right hand, caused by a bleed in her brain (cerebral cavernous malformation).
The 63-year-old, of Hawarden, has been offered deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment at The Walton Centre in Liverpool.
DBS involves inserting an electrode into the brain which is connected to a pulse generator implanted to the front of the chest to control the tremor.
But Mrs Hancock has been refused NHS funding despite having appealed in September to the chief executive of Health Commission Wales (HCW).
Mrs Hancock claims she is the victim of a “country lottery’’ as she would get the treatment if she lived just three miles away over the border in England.
She said: “The treatment is something you have to think about. I said ‘Yes, I would like it’ because I would have my quality of life back.
“I like to do watercolour painting, I like to write. I was hoping to write Christmas cards this year but I can’t do that.”
For 23 years Mrs Hancock has also suffered with ME, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. She suffers tiredness, painful joints and imbalance.
“Who is the Health Commissioner of Wales to play God and refuse my quality of life?” asked Mrs Hancock, who lives with husband Dave, 67.
“I just want my right hand back.”
A Welsh Assembly government spokesman said: “HCW cannot comment on individual patients, but deep brain stimulation is not currently commissioned by Health Commission Wales for dystonic tremor other than in exceptional circumstances.”
NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence) said DBS could be offered as a treatment for tremor or dystonia “provided the patient understands what is involved, agrees to the treatment and the results are monitored”.
For further details, go to www.tremor. org.uk or www.angiomalliance.org.uk