James is 8 years old and suffers from bullying at school because of his prominent ears.
His parents took him to his GP, who referred him to a plastic surgeon to have an operation to pin back his ears. However, the local NHS Trust refused to fund the operation because they classed it as a "cosmetic" operation and they had a policy of not funding this kind of procedure unless there were exceptional circumstances.
James's parents were not happy with this decision and approached Irwin Mitchell's Public Law department to try to challenge the decision.
Acting on Legal Aid, Irwin Mitchell's Public Law team was able to obtain reports from a consultant plastic surgeon and an expert in child psychiatry to show that James's circumstances were exceptional, and that this was not a simple cosmetic procedure.
The experts' reports showed that James's condition was very unusual and was causing him real psychological harm.
After the experts' reports were presented to the NHS Trust, the Trust reconsidered its original decision and agreed to fund James's operation. James and his parents were delighted with this decision. They were grateful to Irwin Mitchell for achieving this result, and for taking the pressure off them and dealing with the NHS Trust on their behalf. James's parents said that they would advise anyone who finds themself in this position, and wants to challenge an NHS funding decision, not to give up and to seek legal advice. This case demonstrates that a decision not to fund treatment on the NHS can be successfully challenged.
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