NHS trial gives fresh hope to Castleford boy’s family

Cameron Harper
Cameron Harper
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THE FAMILY of a seven-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer from Castleford who was refused an operation on the NHS that could help him walk for the first time has been given fresh hope.

Cameron Harper underwent tests at Leeds General Infirmary in January that confirmed he was an ideal candidate for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery.(SDR)

But his devastated family were told the £26,000 operation had stopped being routinely available on the NHS last April.

They have already raised around £14,000 towards more than £50,000 they need to cover the cost of the surgery plus rehabilitation costs.

And now NHS England has announced it is to start funding trials of the specialist surgery for 120 children who suffer from cerebral palsy a year.

The surgery will take place at five hospitals trusts, including Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Cameron’s mother Nicola Harper, 38, said: “He is so desperate to walk. He just wants to be like any other boy.

“It is so overwhelming to think he could walk after the struggle we have had. For me and his dad it’s constant heartbreak.

“For him to get this operation, we would be absolutely on top of the world.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper had written to the head of NHS England calling for them to look again at funding the surgery.

Shadow Home Secretary Ms Cooper said: “It’s great that following my questions to NHS England they’ve decided to run trials on the procedure to see if could be offered to NHS patients.

“Cameron’s parents have been shown that it could make a big difference to his quality of life and I’ll be meeting with them and Cameron as soon as possible to see how I can help take things forward on their behalf.”

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Children aged between three and 10 who suffer stiffness in their lower limbs, and meet the clinical criteria for treatment, can access SDR as part of the initiative.”