I posted about this story on my blog yesterday. I didn't issue a press release even though I thought it should be known because I didn't want it to be seen as political. I fully expected the BBC to start the ball rolling - but No. For some reason, which completely escapes me the BBC doesn't think this is worth reporting. So I will have to do it myself.
Last week, Jonathon Osbourne, Consultant Otolaryngologist with the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust wrote to Miss Andrea Price from Llangurig, near Llanidloes - one of my constituents.
Dear Miss Price,
I am writing to update you on the current situation regarding the funding of your cochlear implant.
As you know, Health Commission Wales recently produced a document which denies cochlear implants to all adults in Wales apart from those patients who had previous meningitis (a minuscule proportion of the total). I went to see the Minister of Health (Brian Gibbons) on 5th March 07, to protest about the situation, and was left informally under the impression that he might be able to help. Sadly, in response to a question in the Assembly today, he has confirmed that Wales will not be providing cochlear implants to nearly all adult patients.
Wales is therefore the only home nation to deny this treatment to deaf people. Cochlear implantation is a well established treatment that is more cost effective than renal transplantation or coronary artery bypass grafting, there is no effective alternative treatment and in my view this policy is cruel to people like yourself having to cope with the handicap of profound deafness.
Having failed to help you through the appropriate channels I see no alternative to publicising this outrageous situation prior to the Assembly elections in May. We will be mounting a campaign via the good offices of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf. Please let me know if you are happy to be contacted by the media. In the Meantime please feel free to act independently and contact your local Assembly Member/Member of Parliament.
I know that this news comes as a devastating blow to you, but please don't give up hope. In the long term having Wales behave like a third world country is not a sustainable situation and I believe it is just a matter of time before we get this decision reversed. Kind regards
Yours sincerely, Jonathon Osborne, F.R.C.S, Consultant Otolaryngologist.
I looked through some of the stories that the BBC decided should be reported on today.
a) Police believe thieves are targeting pubs.
b) Part of a kitchen is found under a driveway.
c) A local post box is stolen.
d) Halkyn Mountain is to be surrounded by cattle grids.
e)American High School band visits Wales.
UPDATE - I am told that the Minister Brian Gibbons has now allocated £750,000 for the provision of cochlear implants for adults. The consultant, Mr Osborne has contacted me to inform that the Minister's decision will now allow Andrea's treatment to go ahead, which is great news for her and others in the same position.