Thursday, 28 February 2008

Veteran wins fight for NHS sight treatment

A war veteran who won his battle for NHS treatment for his failing eyesight yesterday has pledged to continue the fight for other people.

Jack Tagg, 88, who flew Wellington bombers during the Second World War, put his house on the market to fund his treatment because his local health trust said he did not meet the NHS criteria.

Mr Tagg, from Torquay, Devon, suffers from age-related wet macular degeneration in his right eye, which attacks central vision. Last week, he went to Downing Street to present about £1,000 in donated cheques to Gordon Brown - which he wanted the Prime Minister to put towards his treatment.

Mr Tagg paid more than £700 for one injection, and was prepared to sell his home to fund another dozen. But he said yesterday that the trust had offered to pay.

"I am delighted my campaign has succeeded, but I am proceeding to campaign on behalf of others who have not been so fortunate," he said.

He said he wanted people to continue to send £5 cheques - made payable to Gordon Brown - to help make the treatment universal. During his campaign, Mr Tagg described the trust's decision not to fund his treatment as "calculated cruelty".

Peter Colclough, the chief executive of Torbay Care Trust, met Mr Tagg and his wife Gabrielle, 77, to discuss his case and treatment of his condition.

After a review of the case, Mr Colclough said that at the time of Mr Tagg's ophthalmologist consultation, he was not advised of his right to appeal.

"I have personally apologised to Mr Tagg for the flaw within our process," he said. "As a result, we have offered to fund Mr Tagg's treatment on a personal basis. We will continue to assess each patient on a case-by-case basis."