‘I’m having anxiety attacks’: Hospital despair for man with hole in his eye

Alan Osborne and his wife, Paula, from Costessey. Picture: Paula Osborne

Alan Osborne and his wife, Paula, from Costessey. Picture: Paula Osborne - Credit: Archant

A 65-year-old man who developed a hole in his eye and was at risk of losing his sight has been left waiting for three months to get an urgent appointment.

Alan Osborne, from Costessey, began to get blurred vision and went to an opticians in Norwich in August.

Following an eye exam, the optician diagnosed the building control officer with a full depth hole in the macular in his right eye and the initial stages of a hole in the other.

The optician referred him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and said he should receive an emergency appointment within 16 days to prevent further deterioration.

But Mr Osborne was only offered a routine appointment at the NNUH three months later.

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Last week, a second scan at the opticians showed the condition had worsened and, as a result, Mr Osborne made a private appointment.

His wife, Paula Osborne, 64, said: “The waiting process and the poor communication was frustrating. It felt like banging your head against a wall. While we were waiting, we felt very anxious. My husband was worried because he could lose a lot of his sight if he doesn’t get treatment quick enough and he has to drive for his job.

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“He has been having anxiety attacks. The biggest worry is going past the point of no return where it is not possible to have an operation.”

Mr Osborne was put on a waiting list for an operation in up to 10 weeks after the appointment with the private consultant.

Ms Osborne said: “At the moment, it feels like everything is concentrated on Covid-19 even though other people are getting sick too. Fortunately we’ve now got an operation date so we’re feeling much more optimistic.”

A spokesperson for the NNUH said: “We are sorry to hear of Mr Osborne’s frustrations. All of our services at NNUH are open with extra cleaning, PPE and social distancing in place to keep our staff and patients as safe as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are prioritising the most urgent cases and doing everything we can to create additional capacity wherever able, including carrying out routine procedures at weekends, after elective services were paused during the first wave of the pandemic.

“We’d urge patients to continue to seek medical help during the second wave of Covid-19.”

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