Welsh NHS 'playing God' says heart patient

John Prescott is currently in intensive care in a hospital in Manchester Credit: ITV Wales

The Welsh NHS is 'playing God' with a man's life after he was denied funding for a life saving operation.

John Prescott, from Conwy, needs a heart transplant after suffering a heart attack 18 months ago. It damaged his heart so badly that only one side is working properly.

In order for John to be eligible for a heart transplant, he needs a pump - called an LVAD - fitting to his existing heart.

The pump would allow the rest of John's body to recover so that a full transplant could take place.

Watch the full report by James Crichton-Smith, below.

John is currently in Wythenshaw hospital in Manchester, where doctors say they have a pump and can carry out the procedure, but the NHS in Wales says it won't pay for it.

Without the operation, John has been told by doctors that he has just weeks to live.

Responding to ITV Wales's request for a comment on why the health service here won't fund the operation, NHS Wales said LVADs "are not routinely funded by NHS Wales. It does however fund the insertion of short term VADs."

The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee is unable to comment on individual patient cases or the outcome of individual patient funding requests.

We care greatly about commissioning the best care for the people of Wales and our commitment is to the provision of cost-effective new treatments fairly available to all.

Longterm Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs) are not routinely funded by NHS Wales. It does however fund the insertion of short term VADs.

Whilst LVADs are not routinely funded by NHS Wales, all patient cases are assessed on a case by case basis, if the patient’s clinician considers there are exceptional circumstances.

As such requests for LVADs are considered using the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) process. This process allows patients who are most likely to gain clinical benefit, access to treatments which are not routinely funded by NHS Wales.

IPFR decisions are made by a panel chaired by an independent lay person, and consist of clinicians, managers and an ethicist.

– Dr Sian Lewis, Medical Director at Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee

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