A LIFE-changing surgery for people with a rare medical condition could be scrapped in Oxfordshire.
Surgery for internal rectal prolapse, which is carried out at the Pelvic Floor Clinic at the John Radcliffe Hospital , has been suspended since June.
Now it has emerged the service is being reviewed while health bosses discuss its future.
Last night a pensioner who was hoping to have the surgery said it would have transformed her life.
Each year about 125 people receive treatment for the condition which causes severe problems for people trying to pass stools, and in some cases complete incontinence.
The surgery can help people lead a normal life and reduce the need for colostomy bags.
Susan Hillsdon said her life would be transformed by the treatment.
She had been awaiting an appointment with a consultant to discuss it. The 77-year-old, from Radley, has been diagnosed with internal rectal prolapse and has become permanently incontinent.
As a result she and husband John rarely leave the house for fear of getting ‘caught short’.
She said: “It makes life incredibly hard. The surgery would change my life. It would transform it.”
Mr Hillsdon added: “Whenever we leave our house we have to plan our trip to be near a public toilet.
“We’ve now reached the point where my wife does not wish to leave the house, and it will not be long before she will feel a prisoner in her home.”
The surgery, which costs between £2,640 and £5,440, has been suspended while the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), the group of clinicians which will commission the county’s health care, decides its future. A spokesman admitted it had been ‘beneficial for some patients in the short term’ but added: “A review is now needed to confirm the longer-term benefits and its clinical effectiveness.
“The Oxford University Hospitals trust has agreed with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) to suspend this type of surgery while it seeks research funding for a clinical trial which will provide the evidence needed.
“We hope that appropriate Oxfordshire patients will be offered the opportunity to be involved in a trial if the OUH is successful in getting funding.”
The suspension will affect new referrals, and those patients currently waiting for tests and examination under anaesthetic as part of their work-up for surgery.
Surgery for patients currently on the waiting list will proceed to surgery as planned. No date has been set for a decision once the review has been carried out. The spokesman added: “The OUH and OCCG understand that this will impact some patients. All patients affected will be notified by letter and will be directed to their GP to agree a care plan.
“The OUH Colorectal Team will be supporting GPs in the management of these patients going forward.”