Blackburn veteran 'let down' by seven-year wait for op
A SECOND World War veteran said he feels ‘incredibly let down’ by the NHS after waiting almost seven years for a back operation.
Jack Bland, 85, who lost the lower part of his right leg after being shot in Northern Italy at the end of the war, suffered a lower vertabrae injury in 2006 after falling over a step.
He was confined to a wheelchair for four months, and ever since has been asking for an operation on a painful small disc bulge at the lower level on his left side.
Mr Bland, of Charterhouse Place, Blackburn, said: “The bulge means I can’t walk very far and I can’t stand for any length of time, or else I start to feel dizzy. With already having my right leg amputated, it’s a double whammy.
“At first they just tried to give me painkillers, but MRI scans showed I needed an operation.
“I’ve been asking for this for six years and 10 months, and since my latest scan in June, the hospital has been trying to get a pre-operation meeting arranged.
“Now every time I get an appointment to go for the meeting, I get a phone call telling me it’s been cancelled and they never tell me why. I feel incredibly let down.
“The politicans are always saying the NHS is free, but it’s not, we all pay for it in taxes. I’ve served my country and paid taxes all my life, and I get nothing but my war pension.”
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, runs the Royal Preston Hospital, which is dealing with Mr Bland’s case.
Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We offer our sincere apologies to Mr Bland for delays in his care.
“We always aim to provide the highest standards of services and take seriously any concerns patients have about their experiences.
“We will contact Mr Bland directly to assure him that we are prioritising his treatment.”
Mr Bland has spoken to Blackburn MP Jack Straw about the problem. Mr Straw said: “I am really concerned about this and I am taking it up with the hospital.”