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April 4, 2007

'Wales a third world country' over ear implants

From: News Wales, UK - Apr 4, 2007

An ear surgeon has compared Wales to a third world country and accused it of cruelty for refusing to give cochlear implants to deaf people.

In letter to a young deaf patient, Miss Andrea Price of Llangurig in Montgomeryshire, who lost her hearing in 2005, surgeon Jonathan Osborne, of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, writes: “Health Commission Wales has recently produced a document which denies cochlear implants to all adults in Wale, apart from those patients who had previous meningitis.

“Wales is therefore the only home nation to deny this treatment to deaf people.

"I see no alternative to publicising this outrageous situation prior to the Assembly elections in May.

"In the long term having Wales behave like a third world country is not sustainable situation and I believe it is just a matter of time before we get this decision reversed.

Glyn Davies, Welsh Conservative AM for Mid and West Wales today expressed his public support for Miss Price, saying, "Sudden deafness is a devastating condition to affect a young person and I have great sympathy for Miss Price.

“It really is hard to understand why she should be condemned to a life of deafness when a treatment is available which could return her hearing. I understand that the cost of cochlear implantation is around £32,000.

" It really does cause me to be very angry when I see a lovely young girl being condemned to a life of deafness for the sake of £32,000 in the same month as the Labour Assembly Government is spending over £32 million per year abolishing prescription charges."

© 2007 News Wales