Patient’s fury over PCT funding refusal

ME sufferer Wendie Evison
ME sufferer Wendie Evison
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an ME patient who has been housebound for the past decade says she is devastated after Sheffield NHS refused to fund treatment at a specialist hospital unit which could improve her condition.

Wendie Evison, from Greenhill, was distraught to hear NHS Sheffield won’t fund a stay at the Leeds and West Yorkshire CFS/ME Service, due to her “failure to engage” with local services.

NHS Sheffield say that was a “miscommunication” and there was no intention to imply the 57-year-old had not co-operated with Sheffield health workers.

Instead, they say the rejection was based on the severity of Mrs Evison’s symptoms.

But a letter from the Sheffield ME Service, based at Fairlawns in Middlewood Road, supported the application - which is now more than 12 months old.

In a letter to Mrs Evison’s GP at Woodseats Medical Centre the team said: “We support the referral considering the duration and increasing severity of Mrs Evison’s illness and consider our service is currently unable to provide the intensity of intervention and therapeutic environment that she requires.

Husband Michael, aged 58, said her condition includes constant muscle and joint pain, severe fatigue and weakness, sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty with thinking and memory and problems speaking and swallowing.

She also has additional health complications including fibromyalgia and osteoporosis. She spends most of her day in a darkened room - coming out for around an hour at lunchtime and dinner time.

The couple are devastated that the request, which they see as her only prospect of improving her quality of life, has been turned down.

They have now been given leave to appeal.

Mr Evison said: “At times things have got so bad she’s said she doesn’t want to carry on - because really, what kind of life is it? Wendie has co-operated all the way along with services as best as she can.

“In our view, their decision was based on money.

A spokeswoman for NHS Sheffield said she could not comment on individual cases.

“Decisions on Individual Funding Requests for exceptional or unusual treatments are made based upon evidence provided to the panel, with some requests being declined on the belief that they would not provide significant clinical benefit to the individual at the time of the decision,” she said.

“Our panel deals with exceptional requests for the funding of clinical treatments using both national and local guidance to ensure care is fairly allocated to all patients in the city, which we understand can be a difficult process for the patients involved.

“Decisions may be re-considered if further information is provided.”