"Lack of treatment for daughter's Glue Ear"

About: Poole General Hospital / Ear, Nose and Throat

(as a parent/guardian),

We have been to see an ENT specialist in Poole Hospital this week, and although the specialist agrees my 5 year old daughter needs grommets put in with an additional adenoidectomy, he cannot allow her to have it due to funding guidelines - "2 failed hearing tests, 3 months apart".

My daughter has been suffering with Glue Ear for at least a year "officially" - and possibly 3 years looking back at symptoms. When she started school the problem became noticeable to the school and she complained she could not hear the teacher or the other children. She was referred to the community paediatrician and she did 3 monthly hearing tests. She started mainly complaining of just one ear, then both.

She has suffered a lot of pain in the last year and I was told by the community paediatrician at one point that usually with one ear failing a test and the other borderline normal they don't usually refer (this was only in November) before this time she told me that amount of pain was a factor in whether she would be referred or not. The appointment before November I was told if she had the same level of hearing and pain we would be referred - at which point in November she said no.

In December I knew her hearing had got a lot worse and so had the pain, I tried to get an earlier appointment the best I could get was early February. She failed the hearing test in both ears this time.

From December our daughter has changed into a different girl - she has had 2 horrible ear infections, she has withdrawn even more than before and is very unhappy. She has trouble going to sleep at night due to pain and pressure in her ears so daily loses about 2/3 hours sleep which makes a huge impact on a child. She has stopped eating and drinking at some points - which brought her into hospital with dehydration - she looked that bad they thought she was diabetic.

She really struggles at school and does not want to go everyday - so getting her there is a huge battle everyday. Not sure whether this is classified as behavioural difficulties but when she hits me and punches me every morning just for trying to get her dressed for school it certainly feels like it. She cannot hear in lessons and is falling behind academically, they do a lot of partnerwork and she really struggles with this.

In the playground she cannot deal with the noise and pitch of the other children and often plays on her own, she has withdrawn and her coping mechanism is to play with her imaginary friends, but she gets very upset she has no real friends. She gets headaches, ear pain and pressure daily and takes a huge amount of medication. She has no balance so cannot ride a bike / scooter and this upsets her. She is a different child behaviourally too - she constantly hits me and her sister and daddy, because she is so angry and frustrated all the time.

I don't understand why there is such and inflexible rule re funding - she has failed hearing tests 6 months apart and 1 month apart, and apart from the hearing suffers every single day as described above. I just wanted to find out if there was anyway she could get this decision changed as it is heart-breaking to see her like this everyday and I want her to hear, be pain free, and be like the other children and enjoy school like she has always wanted.

We are seriously considering going private and try to beg borrow and steal the money just to have our daughter back, but I feel with her struggling like she is we are being let down by a funding decision.

It is hard for me to actually write this letter and complain like this, as last year my husband received amazing treatment for cancer, and think the NHS is wonderful, but I feel so disappointed in this decision.

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