When Jill Davies went to the hospital after being diagnosed with a macular hole she was told she was on the waiting list to be seen at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, when Jill received the date for her operation, it was 32 weeks away. Jill, who was diagnosed with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in March 2015, knew time was precious when it came to saving her sight. "I was told that I was very lucky I was on the waiting list, but when I was told it would be 32 weeks I nearly fell over," she said.
In the meantime Jill’s husband found an article in the local paper about the Newport, South Wales, Macular Society support group and she decided to go along. While she was there, she told the group leader about her lengthy wait for an appointment and was advised to contact the Society’s helpline. "I was told they could maybe do something to help. And it all went from there" said Jill. Jill called the helpline and through the Society’s Advocacy service a letter was written to the hospital on her behalf.
Shortly after her phone call to the Society Jill was told her operation was pushed forward and was scheduled to take place before Christmas. She said: "It was tremendous. I spoke to Rosalyn on the helpline and she had been amazing. I had been told I was on the waiting list, and there was nothing more I could do. I was so grateful to the Society for contacting the hospital on my behalf." Since the operation, Jill said, she’s already seen an improvement in her vision. Had she waited much longer her sight might never have been the same again. She said: "My sight is now much better than it was. A double decker bus had looked like a butterfly to me and faces looked like aliens. It was horrible, it really was. If I had had to wait until May for the operation my eyesight would be a lot worse than it is now.
The Advocacy service was set up to help people who find it difficult to get access to the treatment or care to which they are entitled. The service also supports people who are refused treatment when it is not usually available for their particular type of macular disease. As well as telephoning and writing letters on behalf of patients to get information and to support their case for treatment or other care, the service can also help prepare applications for funding for treatment or help with appeals against a refusal to fund treatment.