Parkinson’s man op is cancelled due to Havering’s cruel postcode lottery
�A Parkinson’s sufferer has been refused a life-changing operation which could see his debilitating paralysis reduced, due to Havering’s “postcode health lottery”.
Top consultants at Queen’s Hospital’s neurological department told Neil Poole he would respond well to groundbreaking treatment, called deep brain stimulation (DBS), following tests at Christmas.
But joy turned to heartbreak, after the 62-year-old Christian project coordinator was told the NHS in Havering would not pay for the �50,000 surgery.
“I need this operation to improve my quality of life,” said Mr Poole, from Parkland Avenue, Romford. “If I lived in Brentwood I can have the operation at Queen’s, but [Havering NHS] have recently capped funding.”
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Mr Poole was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease five years ago, and suffers from PD – which sees him freezing for up to an hour at a time.
He has been taking an increasingly potent cocktail of drugs to counter the paralysis, but his medication is becoming less and less effective
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Mr Poole said: “The surgeon is very keen for me to have this procedure as the medication I am on can no longer control the paralysis.
“If I have surgery I may be able to work for the rest of my working life, with reduced amounts of medication, saving lots of money for the country. Otherwise I will continue to have more and more medication and may not be able to work.
“I am very disappointed. I feel money is being wasted throughout the county yet people like me are not being given the surgery they need.”
The operation would see electrodes pushed deep into Mr Poole’s brain, masking the effects of the condition – and in the best-case scenario could result in him living a near-normal life.
Mr Poole says he may try to raise the cash himself.
A spokesman for NHS North East London and the City, said: “We can’t comment on individual cases, but in terms of Deep Brain Stimulation, we are working closely with our hospital partners to see how we can commission the most appropriate service for all relevant patients rather than funding them on a case by case basis.”