A MAN with a hernia the size of a golf ball has described his shock after a call from his doctor's surgery telling him there was no NHS money available to treat him.

Graham Smythe, 62, of Bells Hill Green, Stoke Poges, noticed something wrong when he was in the shower. He went to his doctor at Threeways Surgery in Pennyletts Green who said he would be referred to a specialist - but soon afterwards came the shock phone call from the surgery.

Mr Smythe, a grandfather of four who works as a mobile service engineer, said: "I was told funding for my operation was not available, that I could not see a specialist. It was even suggested I get it done privately.

"I couldn't believe it. Some days the hernia was the size of a golf ball - I had heard how a strangulated hernia can develop and be very serious.

"My job depends on being able to climb into spaces and crawl under lorries."

Mr Smythe contacted the Slough Observer to express his dismay. When the paper contacted the surgery we were told that the decision belonged to the NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group - the body that purchases medical procedures in the county.

This week a spokesman for Bucks' CCG said he could not discuss an individual patient's case.

But he said: "It is true that certain forms of hernia treatment are not routinely funded by the NHS locally.

"Unfortunately, the CCG continues to operate in challenging financial times, meaning the healthcare needs of the individual must be balanced against those of the entire local population.

"While we have every sympathy with people who may not be deemed eligible for treatment, these difficult decisions are made so that we can prioritise the healthcare needs of our population."

He said ‘individual funding requests’ known as IFRs could be made to the CCG by people who had been refused treatment, when they would be considered by a panel of healthcare professionals.

On Friday Mr Smythe got a call from Threeways Surgery telling him the decision had been reversed and he now had an appointment with a consultant at Wexham Park Hospital on March 8.