MP backs eye sufferers

PUBLISHED: 10:53 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

VICTIMS of the dry form of an eye disease which largely affects the elderly should get far more help from the local NHS according to St Albans MP Anne Main. She secured a debate in the House of Commons to challenge Health Minister Ivan Lewis on the provis

VICTIMS of the dry form of an eye disease which largely affects the elderly should get far more help from the local NHS according to St Albans MP Anne Main.

She secured a debate in the House of Commons to challenge Health Minister Ivan Lewis on the provision of services for suffers of dry Macular Degeneration (MD). Some half-a-million people in the UK suffer from MD and the dry form which accounts for around 80 per cent of cases is not treatable.

Most sufferers are only provided with simple magnifying equipment but Ken Nutty, the leader of the St Albans MD Group, has been lobbying since 2004 for a reduction in cost and improved accessibility of CCTV readers which can enhance the lives of MD patients.

Mrs Main admitted she was frustrated by the Minister's response that if the quality of life of someone with dry MD would be clearly and considerably enhanced and improved as a consequence of having access to a certain piece of equipment, the local NHS should do everything possible to make that equipment available.

She said that he had not addressed how that was going to happen. She added: "The Minister says it is up to me to argue the case for better provision locally but I believe that a strong steer from the Government would be an excellent way to help MD sufferers. If the Minister feels people are being failed, he must be clear on what he expects the NHS and Social Services to be doing."

She said that the Minister had accepted that sufferers deserved better and that equipment provision services in most parts of the country were not working well. But with victims of MD falling between two stools, the NHS and Social Services, without any priority for budgeting, a more joined-up approach was needed.

Mrs Main said the debate was "an excellent opportunity" to pay tribute to the work of Ken Nutty who would be moving to Canada shortly.

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