Heart-to-heart letter to PM
PUBLISHED: 07:08 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 May 2010
A GRANDFATHER suffering from the same heart condition as Tony Blair has written to the Prime Minister blasting him for double standards in the health service. John Loxton, of Bristol Road in Weston, is demanding to know why he has had to wait months for t
A GRANDFATHER suffering from the same heart condition as Tony Blair has written to the Prime Minister blasting him for double standards in the health service.John Loxton, of Bristol Road in Weston, is demanding to know why he has had to wait months for treatment while Mr Blair was treated for the same condition within hours of falling ill.The 64-year-old says he is a 'walking time bomb' who could have a heart attack at any time.Mr Loxton, who has five grandchildren, suffers from a condition called atrial fibrilation, which means his heart beats irregularly. He has been on the list at Weston General Hospital since January.The Prime Minister was struck down with the same illness in October 2004 and received medical help from top doctors within hours.Mr Loxton has sent a letter to 10 Downing Street demanding to know how the Prime Minister could get immediate attention while he has had to wait five months.The retired Bristol Water district manager was told by health officials that cash was so short his GP referral would not even be sent to a consultant until February. He was finally given an initial appointment with a consultant on Monday. But Mr Loxton has given up on the NHS as he fears he would have to wait until late summer for treatment.The father-of-three is now so desperate he is prepared to pay thousands of pounds to go private.The pensioner has been told if he pays £2,000 for private treatment he could have the minor operation to cure his condition within weeks.Mr Loxton said: "My principles tell me not to go private but principles do not keep you alive. I am a walking time bomb and could have a heart attack at any time."If I wait for the NHS, it could be months and that might be time I do not have."If Tony Blair can get immediate treatment why should I, and thousands of others like me, have to wait so long? I am not having a go at Weston General Hospital but at the NHS in general, which seems to be in a terrible state."North Somerset Primary Care Trust medical director Tricia Woodhead said part of the delay is due to medical reasons so Mr Loxton's blood can be stabilised before treatment. She said: "During March and April, we had service pressures due to one senior doctor being on leave. This may have led, inadvertently, to a slight delay and the treatment being moved to May."The trust apologises for any inconvenience and worry caused to the patient, and as a result will be reviewing how we manage this particular list of patients in the future."The Weston & Somerset Mercury approached the Prime Minister's office but officials declined to comment and said a written response would be sent to Mr Loxton in due course.