"Refused Treatment for my eye"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

In a very short space of time a cluster of lumps appeared on my eyelid, I was very concerned so contacted my GP. He referred me to the Devon Access & Referral Team (DART) for removal of the lesion.

I received a letter from them within a couple of weeks, when I phoned them for what I thought would be be to make an appointment I was told that I "didn't fit the criteria for funding" so in effect I was told I would have to put up with it. My GP contacted me to inform me that I could appeal but I would have to be an exceptional case or have the treatment privately which he stated would cost me hundreds of pounds. In the meantime my eyelid is getting worse and is starting to impede my vision.

I am really disgusted by this and will be appealing against this decision, I will also be contacting PALS and a national newspaper.

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Responses

Response from Project Support Manager, DART, NHS Devon

Dear 'Disgusted Service User',

Thank you for getting in contact with us to tell us about your experience. We are unable to give you a detailed response at this time and have contacted our colleagues who deal with the commissioining policy for some further information. We will respond to your post in the next 24 hours.

Best Wishes

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager, DART, NHS Devon

Dear ‘Disgusted Service User’,

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments about our service, and I can only apologise that you feel your experience was not a positive one. I have taken advice from other colleagues to help answer your queries.

From the information in your post it sounds as if your referral relates to the benign skin lesions policy. The removal of benign skin lesions falls under the remit of the Low Priority Treatments Policy, which has been in existence for many years. The Policy determines those procedures which are not normally funded by the NHS. The policy covers lumps and bumps found anywhere on the body which are not thought to be cancerous. The current guidelines have been developed with the support of GPs and Consultant Dermatologists. Please find further information at the links below, copy and paste the address in the brackets into your internet webpage:

1. Low Priority Treatments Policy - February 2011 (http://www.devonpct.nhs.uk/Library/Treatments/TP02_Low%20Priority%20Treatments%20Policy_%20Final%2007.09.2011.pdf)

2. Benign Skin Lesions Removal (http://www.devonpct.nhs.uk/Library/Treatments_commissioning_policies/Benign%20skin%20lesions%20removal%20commissioning%20policy.pdf)

However, it is recognised that all patients are individual and there may be specific circumstances where funding may be appropriate and that there needs to be a process to consider individual cases.

In these circumstances an application can be made by your GP to the Restricted Treatments Funding Panel for consideration under exceptionality. The GP will be required to submit the application, providing details of your particular circumstances and also will be required to demonstrate that:

• the patient is significantly different to the general population of patients with the condition in question;

and

• and patient is significantly different to the general population of patients with the condition in question; and also will be required to demonstrate that

The panel process allows for consistent decision making in those cases which do not meet the criteria of the policy.

We understand that it can be frustrating and we would advise patients to seek further guidance from their GPs in order to take the next steps.

One of the roles of DART is to implement the policies on behalf of the Primary Care Trust. This will be based on the information provided in the referral letter from your GP. We are not in a position to go outside the commissioning policy.

I apologise for the frustration you have felt and wish you the best for the remainder of your care.

Best Wishes

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