Victory in sight in OAP eye battle

Pensioners are on the verge of victory after Norfolk health bosses agreed to consider paying for sight-saving drugs.

Pensioners are on the verge of victory after Norfolk health bosses agreed to consider paying for sight-saving drugs.

Hundreds of people will benefit if the primary care trust bows to mounting pressure and funds a set of injections used to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - the UK's most common cause of blindness.

The issue, highlighted in the EDP in the last week, was referred to by health minister Andy Burnham in the House of Commons yesterday when the government was urged to end the “postcode lottery” over treatment.

As reported, a shocking number of elderly people in the county are using thousands of pounds of their own money - and even taking out loans - to pay for approved drugs privately in a bid to prevent blindness.

An estimated one in five primary care trusts in England provides the drugs, and they are freely available throughout Scotland.

Now Norfolk PCT chiefs have promised a decision next month on whether they will fund the treatment, after consideration by a committee of GPs and other officials.

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Trust director of public health Dr John Battersby said: “The PCT is currently looking closely at the use of Avastin, an effective drug for the treatment of patients who suffer from age-related macular degeneration.