St Albans woman refunded for private eyesight treatment

THE FAMILY of a great-grandmother denied funding to save her eyesight are delighted that the �2,000 they paid for her treatment has just been refunded. Mrs Maureen Russell, aged 88, of Park Street, St Albans, has been deaf from childhood but also has macu

THE FAMILY of a great-grandmother denied funding to save her eyesight are delighted that the �2,000 they paid for her treatment has just been refunded.

Mrs Maureen Russell, aged 88, of Park Street, St Albans, has been deaf from childhood but also has macular degeneration in both eyes.

NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recently ruled that a drug, Lucentis, used in its treatment should be made available on the NHS but the West Herts Primary Care Trust said Mrs Russell was not eligible for treatment due to a small amount of scarring on her right eye.

Her son Simon, aged 43, of Nelson Avenue, St Albans, said: "Her consultant could not believe she had been refused funding and advised us to appeal against the decision which we did.


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"We were delighted when the PCT at last changed its mind but we felt we should be refunded the money we had to spend because of the aggressive nature of the disease. Mum would probably have lost her sight by Christmas had we not acted fast."

He maintained that it would have been a false economy if she had been left to go blind as she would have needed full-time care.

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He wrote to the primary care trust asking for his family's money to be refunded and this week received a cheque for the whole amount.

Simon is even more pleased that the treatment has been a total success.

He said: "Mum only had peripheral sight before but she can now see perfectly again out of the eye that has been treated."

Mrs Russell has macular degeneration in both eyes but it is the wet form of the condition in her right eye which is treatable. Her other eye - in which she has the dry version of the disease - will get worse with age but degenerate much more slowly.

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