March teenager Elliot “ecstatic” after NHS changes its mind and says he can have life-changing operation

PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:34 12 February 2015

Elliott Harding from March has been denied funding for operation. Picture: Steve Williams.

Elliott Harding from March has been denied funding for operation. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A teenager was lost for words after being told he could have a life-changing operation previously denied to him by the NHS.

Elliot Harding, of Maple Grove, was initially told there was no funding for an £8,000 operation to have his rib-cage rebuilt.

But, with the support of MP Steve Barclay, who raised his plight to the Exceptional Cases Panel, the 18 year-old has now been given the green light for the operation.

Elliot said: “I am absolutely ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it when Steve contacted me to tell me I could have the operation. It is a massive weight off my shoulders.

“I can’t put into words just how happy I am. I am a bit nervous at the thought of the surgery but if it’s got to be done then it’s got to be done.”

Elliot, who lives with his grandparents, was unable to raise the money for the operation himself, which is needed because his ribs are compressing his heart and lungs leaving him out of breath and in pain.

Tests including an MRI scan revealed he has a slightly twisted spine and an inverted rib cage.

He has always had a ‘pigeon’ chest but the problem has worsened in recent years after he suffered a serious chest injury in a fall from his BMX bike.

Despite being recommended for an operation by a thoracic surgeon at Papworth Hospital Elliot was told funding for the procedure was unavailable on the NHS because it was deemed cosmetic rather than clinical.

Mr Barclay, MP for North East Cambs, could not believe the NHS was refusing funding for the procedure and contacted both the Exceptional Cases Panel and also Papworth Hospital. As a result of his intervention, Elliot now has an appointment to see a surgeon on February 26.

Mr Barclay said: “Like many people locally I was very concerned to learn that Elliot had been refused treatment when he had a serious condition.

“Having discussed this case with both Papworth Hospital and the Exceptional Cases Panel there appears to have been a mix-up in communication which we have now resolved and I am very pleased that Elliot will be getting the treatment he clearly needs.

“I am grateful to Caroline Sheet of the Exceptional Cases Panel for the very positive way she engaged in dealing with this issue and in reaching the right outcome.”

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