A 17-year old girl is being forced to seek private treatment on her tonsils – which at times make it hard to breathe – after the NHS said it would not fund their removal.
The girl’s mother, Elizabeth Collings, said her daughter has suffered since she was a toddler and was told by ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultants, both NHS and privately, her tonsils would reduce in size.
Collings: They get massive and she cannot breathe
Now, years later, Mrs Collings says they haven’t.
“Every time she gets a cold they go straight to her tonsils, they get massive and she cannot breathe. Even without an infection, her tonsils are still huge.”
Her daughter has had to find a different way of breathing, particularly when exercising, so she is able to participate without passing out.
Raised issue with GP throughout 2020
Despite raising the issue with her GP throughout 2020 and being given multiple courses of antibiotics, she was told she had not had tonsillitis enough times this year to even get a referral to the ENT consultant on the Island.
Collings: Being forced into having to do this is unfair
With no other option to get them removed, Mrs Collings and her daughter have been to see private consultants in Southampton who told her it would cost more than £2,500 to have them removed.
Mrs Collings said:
“We don’t have the sort of money, but we are doing this for our daughter because she needs to have it done. But being forced into having to do this is unfair.
“The first thing the ENT consultant said when he saw her tonsils was he thought they ought to come out.
“They didn’t take her seriously and it made her feel very uncomfortable.
“Doctors have a duty of care to keep people healthy and it would not have taken the GP a lot to refer her to the ENT on the Island, but he wouldn’t.”
Legg: In line with national guidelines
Dr Michele Legg, clinical chair of Isle of Wight NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said while she could not comment on individual cases, tonsillitis was a common childhood illness which could continue into teenage years and adulthood, causing ‘severe pain and discomfort’.
“Generally having your tonsils removed is not routinely funded by the NHS. The Island follows the same set of clinical criteria as Hampshire when it comes to funding this type of procedure. These guidelines are also in line with national ones.”
In exceptional circumstances, Dr Legg said, patients can make an individual funding request to the CCG for consideration if they do not meet the relevant clinical criteria.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed
Image: © Used with the kind permission of Auntie P