Couple Forced to Choose Which One of Them Should Go Blind

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A health trust has saved a couple from taking the agonising decision of which one of them should go blind.

It agreed yesterday to fund treatment for one of the pensioners following claims that the availability of sight-saving drugs on the NHS was a postcode lottery.

Ron and Olive Roberts praised the campaigning of the RNIB after hearing that Mrs Roberts would be treated on the NHS

Olive Roberts, 79, and her husband of 57 years, Ronald, 81, both have wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in Britain.

They were told that they needed urgent treatment that could save their sight. However, if they wanted the treatment quickly, they said they were also told they would have to pay for it privately, even though the drugs were licensed for use on the NHS.

The couple said the drug treatment they needed would cost each of them £600 a month, over a period of up to two years. They could not afford two treatments, so they agreed that Mrs Roberts should have the drugs because her sight was deteriorating faster.

The couple, from Malmesbury, Wilts, applied to the PCT for funding two months ago, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind campaigned on their behalf. Last night, the Kennet and North Wiltshire PCT said in a statement that it had met yesterday to discuss the case and it had agreed to fund Mrs Roberts's treatment as soon as possible. Mr Roberts required a further test before it could be decided what was the most appropriate treatment for his condition.



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