Sussex woman's anxious wait as Covid strain leads to brain tumour surgery being cancelled five times

ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins reports.

The sister of a woman who has had surgery to remove a brain tumour cancelled multiple times says the delays have put a massive strain on her family.

Trudi Tandy's sister, who is from Worthing, was due to undergo treatment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

But pressure on ICU beds and a surgeon contracting Covid have led to cancellations.

Trudi's sister finally went in for surgery today (Tuesday 4 January).

She has an occipital brain tumour and was due to have it removed last year after doctors revealed it has been growing over the last four months.

Trudi Tandy tells ITV News Meridian her sister is stressed by the delays.

Though her condition isn't life-threatening, Trudi told ITV News Meridian the delays have put a huge strain on her sister and family.

Trudi said: "She has no quality of life, no quality at all.

"She can't walk and has lost peripheral vision in one eye likely due to the tumour.

"She can eat, but it's very difficult as she has to have her food cut up and use a spoon.

"We have just sat and watched her disappear before our eyes.

Trudi added, "I'm not ever going to knock the NHS, but this is about the lack of communication between the family and administrators and departments. My brother-in-law has phoned the hospital over the last few months so many times and not getting answers.

"There seems to be no recognition for an individual's situation. Millions of people now are having their diagnosis delayed, treatment and therapies, and how is that going to be managed, is my question to the Government and Boris Johnson.

"We know there aren't enough staff, and it's probably too late to get those staff in.

"She's been incredibly brave with everything she has been through already, but we just want to get the tumour out so she can have the rehabilitation she will undoubtedly need.

"She does have some serious physical effects going on in her body, but doctors don't believe that is to do with the tumour.

"She was booked to go into hospital for the operation on 20 December, but sadly that didn't go ahead because the surgeon got Covid.

"She was then booked in for 30 December, but there was no ICU bed available for her care afterwards. She was then put on a standby from then, and this morning (4 January) on the sixth attempt, she is actually in hospital.

In a statement Ben Stevens, Chief Operating Officer for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said, “The Covid pandemic has caused waiting times to increase across the country and continues to put the entire health service under more pressure than ever before.

"We will continue to do all we can to reduce waiting times and continue to prioritise those with the most urgent needs.

"We know how distressing it is to have to wait for treatment or have a procedure cancelled and we’re very sorry this has happened.

"We’re doing everything we can to get people seen safely as soon as we possibly can. Our doctors, nurses and support staff are working incredibly hard to provide the care patients need.”