Father's plea for daughter to receive surgery to fit specialist feeding tube

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The father of a four-year-old girl is making an emotional appeal to the Belfast Trust to accept his daughter for surgery to fit a specialist feeding tube.

Joniece Sheppard, who has cerebral palsy, spends much of her life in hospital because her body is rejecting what she is fed through her current tube.

Joniece’s family have been told the wait for the procedure is up to five years.

Her dad told UTV his little girl can’t wait that long.

Matthew Sheppard said: "She's just not the bubbly wee child she was every day."

Joniece has been approved for an alternative.

Matthew believes what's called a PEG tube will solve many of her problems.

It requires surgery to be fitted but the waiting list is five years - and Joniece is not considered a priority.

In a statement, the Belfast Trust said: "Belfast Trust is very sorry that any patient has to wait for surgery.

"The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children works with a number of specialist medical professionals in Belfast Trust and throughout the region, to treat and support children and their families who have a range of complex needs.

"We understand that it is a worrying and difficult time for families when a child is waiting for treatment. We are working to explore all possible options for children requiring PEG tube insertions."

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