For some months there has been publicity about the increased funding the NHS will receive in future years. This is welcome but there is evidence that current funding constraints mean our needs are not being met for now.
I am aware of a laryngectomee support group that has recently raised a four figure sum to allow for the provision of an electrolarynx for patients in their locality. Why is this necessary? Would a patient needing a prosthetic limb need funds from a patient group to provide it?
A laryngectomee with a voice prosthesis may experience a leakage when eating or drinking. This requires the prosthesis to be changed by a nurse specialist or (more often) an SLT. In the meantime the patient cannot eat and drink as usual. I am aware of patients having to wait for several days before the problem can be rectified. When I had my laryngectomy in 2002 all I had to do was turn up to the ENT clinic in the event of a problem and it would be resolved on the day.
My comments should not be taken as a criticism of clinical staff, we are all aware of the pressures they face in delivering the patient care they would wish to provide.
I was astonished to learn of the extent of the continuing problems through lack of funding, which may have serious consequences for cancer patients in particular.
I know NALC and the Cancer Laryngectomy Trust are working to highlight the needs of their members.