Child with one ear from Truro flying to Newcastle for treatment denied in Cornwall
A child from Truro with only one ear will fly to Newcastle this morning to get specialist hearing equipment that was denied her in Cornwall.
Ellie Sanders, 4, from Hendra was born with one ear but fell victim to the healthcare “postcode lottery” and was refused a hearing aid available in other parts of the country.
The West Briton featured Ellie’s story which was picked up by the national press and seen by Ian Johnson, a doctor in Newcastle, who contacted the newspaper to say he could help the family.
Kelly Sanders, Ellie’s mum, said: “Dr Johnson was more than happy to offer whatever was needed. He said there was no discussion up there - if you had the hearing loss then you got the equipment.”
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Dr Johnson has offered a medical device called a bone anchored hearing aid (Baha), worn on a band, which would allow Ellie to hear on the side where she does not have an ear to give her more balanced hearing.
He has also offered the family the option of surgery if and when Ellie and her family want it.
The family’s travelling expenses to Newcastle have been paid for by the Cornwall Deaf Children’s Society.
Mrs Sanders said: “The main reason we wanted it was because she is starting school in September. We are hoping that this might give her more confidence and anything that helps her hear sounds helps her speech.”
She said Ellie had been a victim of the "postcode lottery" and was stunned when Dr Johnson, from the Freeman Hospital, got in touch.
Mrs Sanders said: “As soon as I found out this was a genuine offer I burst into tears. I didn’t think anything would come out of doing the article.
“It’s just lovely to think that someone thought he could do something for this little girl. I will owe this man for ever.”
The family tried unsuccessfully to get a Baha from the former Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, now replaced by NHS Kernow.
Mrs Sanders put in a request to the new body but was then told it would have to be dealt with by NHS England.
A spokesman for NHS England said there was now a new national commissioning policy in place which should ensure patients have the same access to treatment irrespective of where they live in the country.