Man claims NHS failure

PUBLISHED: 13:25 18 August 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

A MAN with ME claims failings by the NHS have cost him his home, his job and left him with only £80 a week to live on. I had a nice house, new car and a great job, second chef at King s College, Cambridge, said Martin Gates. I was fine at King s for a

A MAN with ME claims failings by the NHS have cost him his home, his job and left him with only £80 a week to live on.

"I had a nice house, new car and a great job, second chef at King's College, Cambridge," said Martin Gates.

"I was fine at King's for about five months but then I could not physically work. Because I could not work and I did not know what was wrong with me, I had to give it all up."

Mr Gates, 35, was forced to move back with his father in Gorefield after living in St Ives. He receives sickness benefit as he is unemployed, but used to live off just £50 until he was out of work for 12 months.

He contracted pericarditis which is inflammation of the pericardium tissue that covers and protects the heart, more than three years ago while visiting family in France.

He was treated within three hours of arriving at hospital and was in intensive care for five days. He travelled back to England five days after being discharged.

"I was told I must see an English cardiologist immediately on my return to England," he said, but he had to wait four months and then a further six months to see a second consultant. His last appointment was with a chest expert who said he could do nothing for him.

Mr Gates then went to a private consultant who told him he had ME.

"Not knowing what this was I researched on the internet and at last, after two-and-a-half years, had an answer to why I was feeling so poorly."

Mr Gates is desperate to find another job but said: "I want to get into office work but I have not got the experience. Nobody will give me any help.

My aim is to get in to human resources. I did that type of thing at two different sites in Cambridge before joining King's and I really enjoyed it."

Matthew Smith, director of commissioning and modernisation at Fenland Primary Care Trust, said: "The PCT is achieving the national waiting time standards, and working towards the 18-week maximum wait from referral to treatment by 2008. Clearly patients requiring urgent treatment are seen more quickly.

"It is difficult to comment on this patient's experience without understanding all details, but we would be happy to talk directly to him about his concerns.

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