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Shoreham man refused pigskin treatment by NHS
A man has been left virtually housebound because health bosses are refusing to pay for a treatment using pigskin that could help him.
Mark Eaves is in such severe pain due to his two hernias, he needs morphine patches to help him cope.
The 41-year-old from Shoreham has lost his job, spends most of his time in bed and his family say he has no quality of life.
Mr Eaves, of Warwick Walk, has had numerous operations and treatment since first developing two hernias, small lumps in the groin that push through the abdominal wall, six years ago.
Surgeons have tried repairing them but they have been unsuccessful and the hernias keep returning.
Specialists at St Mark’s Hospital in London, who are caring for Mr Eaves, want to try a more expensive type of mesh to repair the hernias, which is made out of pigskin.
Experts believe the surgery has a better chance of success because the pig’s collagen structure is very similar to a human’s so there is less chance of the body rejecting it.
However the treatment costs £8,500 compared to using a synthetic mesh, which costs hundreds of pounds.
A special application had to be made to Mr Eaves’ local clinical commissioning group (CCG) to approve funding for the treatment.
However the application has been turned down twice and Mr Eaves’ wife Sarah, 41, says they are reaching the end of their tether.
She said: “There is no quality of life for Mark. It is heartbreaking to see him in so much pain. It is draining for him and for me.”
“This operation may be more expensive but it will be a lot cheaper in the long term if it works because Mark will not need all the treatment and pain relief he currently needs and he will be able to work again,” she added.
A spokeswoman for Coastal West Sussex CCG said: “There are treatments and drugs, such as strattice mesh, which are not routinely available on the NHS, but we do have a robust process to consider individual requests for these types of health care.
“Mr Eaves’ case has been considered twice by a specialist panel of hospital consultants, GPs and lay people, who have reviewed all of the available evidence for this treatment to see whether it would be effective for Mr Eaves’ condition. On both occasions, after fully considering the case the specialist panel could not find evidence the treatment would be effective for Mr Eaves. It was also noted that Mr Eaves had already had mesh treatment and it was not working.
“We appreciate that the decision not to approve strattice mesh treatment for Mr Eaves is very disappointing both for Mr Eaves and his family.
“We would encourage them to speak to Mr Eaves’ GP and health professionals about alternative treatments and support available to help to manage his condition.”
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