Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BBC won't so I will

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.


Chanticleer said...

Perhaps you should go for a job at the Beeb if Dan Munford does particularly well this May, Glyn.

Anonymous said...

Betsan Powys and the darts player really summed up the problem with BBC political reporting.

Glyn Davies AM said...

At least we have the blogosphere to get the real stories out to the public

Anonymous said...

prerpare for todays big BBC exclusive local post box found by vicar and prostitute behind a wall when they were going for a spliff and a shag

Anonymous said...

iimnevnWelsh deaf and their parents have a right, to CI's, and to the funding of them. Nobody denies Herceptin and the cost of that, even when there may be no long term benefits to be obtained, it is because quality of life is extended as well as the actual.

Deaf people born that way,a nd those who will Acquire a deafness, cost a lot of money in support options because they will need it. A CI can ell save money in the long run, by enabling those implanted to not require these services, and over a lifetime the paltry £26-30k they moan about it costs is chicken-feed to what it will actually save in the long term.

If you have gone deaf and had children and never heard them even talk, then this penny pinching is offensive, cruel even, and what of our deaf children? doomed to be forever Dependant on interpretation from others, and adults, at anything from £20-£60 an HOUR.

A CI will recoup 'losses' financially in a few years,and you are enabling the individual to be part of society again. We OWE CI's to our deaf children, to give them a chance...

Mervyn James (Deaf)

Penddu said...

Unfortunately, one of the effects of devolution is 'swings and roundabouts' - It has brought us free prescriptions - but left us without cochlear implants.

There will be others like this out there, and I accept that hard choices sometimes have to be made. But this is one that they have got wrong.

(Damn - agreeing with the Conservatives again - but well done Glyn for keeping this non-political...for now...)

Glyn Davies AM said...

Minister has decided that £750,000 will be made available for Cochlear Implants in the next year. Andrea's consultant now thinks that she will have implant in next few months. My office has just had an email from Andrea which reads as follows.

"Oh, my God. I am soooooo pleased. ......I can't think at the moment I am so happy. Thank you and thank Mr Davies for me, and wow....!

I don't know whether my questioning had anything to do with the Minister's decision, or whether it was something else that persuaded him to act on this. And it is too soon to know whether this sorts out the issue. But its this sort of thing which makes an AM's job worthwhile. Cheers Brian.

Anonymous said...

what a really nice story

Alun Cairns said...

Well done Glyn. You and I know that this is all too common in Wales.

If this existed in England then the national press would be all over it and the Minister wouold have gone

Gwil said...


Well done, keep up the good work.

Those that can afford a prescription should pay for it.Those that cannot i. e the vulnerable in society were already ,rightly, catered for are already. Wasting meoney this way leads to such incidents as described in your post,

Could you please consider updating the main post as I'm sure many may not bother to read through the comments.


Man in a shed said...

Well done.

I think you'll find there is a lot more the BBC don't want to report.

Perhaps that's why an ex Labour councillor and person closely associated with the government has been appointed Chairman of the BBC trust.

Alison said...

The Minister's decision was made a few days ago, on the 28 March. I commented to this effect in your previous post.

Glyn Davies AM said...

Thanks Alison. I did note your comment but it took a while to interpret the impact of the Minister's Press Release, mainly because its one of several press statements being rushed out between the last Assembly session and the Assembly election. I was satisfied only when the Consultant told us that it would mean that Andrea would now be treated