Restrictions false economy: parents

Elliot Wheeler's parents Phil and Luella are looking forward to their son receiving the grommet surgery he needs. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Elliot Wheeler's parents Phil and Luella are looking forward to their son receiving the grommet surgery he needs. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A Dunedin couple say it will be a false economy if savings are sought through restricting grommet surgery.

Phil and Luella Wheeler are relieved their son Elliot (3) is to undergo grommet surgery next Wednesday. Mrs Wheeler said Elliot had had ear infections since he was a baby.

He had had multiple courses of antibiotics, sleepless nights, a burst eardrum, blocked sinuses, and ''general misery'', Mr Wheeler said.

The couple saw a specialist in July, who offered surgery, but they chose to watch and wait a bit longer. In September, they asked for the surgery, and have since been waiting for a slot. Children only got one start in life, and it was cruel to deny a procedure that could prevent learning and behavioural difficulties, Mrs Wheeler said.

Mr Wheeler said cutting grommet surgeries would not result in real savings. This was because of money spent on GP appointments for ear infections, and the cost of the antibiotics.

As parents, they had lost sleep because of their son's condition, which affected work productivity. There was also the added social and economic cost of more behavioural problems in children, he said.

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