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March teenager’s hopes for ‘life changing surgery’

Elliott Harding has been refused life changing surgery by NHS ANL-150902-071450009
Elliott Harding has been refused life changing surgery by NHS ANL-150902-071450009

A March teenager has a nervous wait to learn if he will be receiving a “life-changing” operation.

Elliott Harding, 18, of Maple Grove, is in pain and cannot walk far as his ribs are compressing his heart and lungs.

Mr Harding is hoping to have an £8,000 operation to re-build his rib cage using titanium plates and change his life.

But Mr Harding, who lives with his grandparents, says he was told by his surgeon that funding for the operation has been refused as it was considered “cosmetic”.

Mr Harding said: “If people can receive free operations such as boob jobs why can’t I have life-changing surgery?

“If I have this operation I will be able to get on with my life.”

Mr Harding had a pre-existing condition which was made worse by a fall from a BMX cycle when he was 14.

He has undergone various tests to discover the cause of his pain, including an MRI scan which revealed he has a slightly twisted spine and an inverted rib cage.

Mr Harding says the condition makes it difficult to move around, affects his sleeping and prevents him from working.

Last year ambulances were called to take him to hospital four times due to his breathing problems.

Mr Harding had been recommended for the surgery by a thoracic surgeon at Papworth Hospital but was later told by the medic that the funding had been refused.

He said: “I have been told I can appeal the decision but can’t get involved in the first phase of the appeal which has to be done by my GP to the Exceptional Cases Board. I’ve been told the chances of succeeding are very small.

“I can’t afford the operation myself and nor can my grandparents, it seems very unfair that I can’t have a procedure which will make such a difference to my life.”

Dr Richard Spiers, Prescribing and Exceptional Cases Clinical Lead, said: “We cannot talk about individual cases, but there is a process for reviewing requests for exceptional treatments (procedures, drugs or health care services) that is followed before any decisions are made.

“The process that NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group uses to make decisions on high-cost drugs treatments follow national guidelines and are based on clinical condition, clinical effectiveness, safety and the cost effectiveness of the treatment.”

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