‘Postcode lottery’ claim denied by NHS Borders as patient’s left in pain

A BURNFOOT woman who is in constant pain as she awaits a womb operation has accused the NHS of playing a postcode lottery.

Ilona Brandwijk has spoken angrily of her treatment at the hands of the health authority which she says has kept her on a waiting list for months in a bid to save money – and fears the delay may be risking her life.

The McLaren Court resident, originally from Holland, claims to not only have been waiting 23 weeks for a cyst to be removed from her ovary, but after conerns about the cause of her problems caused an operation to be halted, and led to a gynecologist requesting a biopsy of her womb – alleges that she is now caught up in a financial wrangle between Borders General Hospital, and The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Miss Brandwijk told the Hawick News: “Time is of the essence if a gynecologist wants to know what is going on inside a womb, yet I have been waiting all this time.

“I was told in August that the equipment in Edinburgh is better so the surgeon wanted to do my operation there, which is fine, but after I finally managed to get through to an assistant they told me that there was a fight going on between NHS Borders and Edinburgh, whether or not they were allowing them to do the surgery there because the budget might not allow it.

“It is an understatement to say that I was very shocked to hear this,” she stated.

The Sainsbury’s employee says she believes that if she lived in Edinburgh the surgery would have already been carried out, commenting: “Basically I think NHS Borders is refusing to have patients undergo surgery in a better hospital if a surgeon requests it because they want to save money.”

She added: “I am now taking loads of medication to be able to go to work, as the pain is there every day and getting worse. I feel they are taking a risk with my life, and that I will not be the only one.”

A spokesperson for NHS Borders told the Hawick News: “We are currently in the process of investigating Ms Brandwijk’s complaint about her treatment.

“Once the investigation is complete we will inform Ms Brandwijk of the outcome and any actions we may be taking.

“We are unable to comment further on this until this investigation has been completed.”

However, Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Borders strongly denied they were compromising the safety of their patients:

He said: “The suggestion that the NHS is running a ‘postcode lottery’ which puts patients’ lives at risk in the Borders is completely unfounded.

“Patient safety is our key priority at all times and NHS Borders is committed to delivering first class health care and fast, responsive services.

“Early diagnosis and treatment are important factors in improving the outcome for patients, as are shorter waiting times, and our achievements in this area have been recognised nationally and reflect the commitment and hard work of all our staff.”