'How am I ineligible?' Health officials leave 22-year-old in tears after rejecting bid for cochlear implant to save her hearing


Cash-strapped health officials have rejected surf-livesaver Danielle MacKay's desperate plea for surgery to save her hearing.

Danielle Mackey has been on the waiting list for an implant since 2015.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ms MacKay, 22, needs a cochlear implant before she goes completely deaf. That's expected to happen in the next few months. She's been waiting for the procedure for three years.

Last week the Levin woman underwent more tests as part of a review of her priority.

And earlier this week she took a petition to Parliament signed by more than 26,000 people.

Yesterday, she was devastated to receive a rejection letter from Southern Cochlear Implant Programme general manager Neil Heslop - citing underfunding.

He wrote: "The clinicians here appreciate that while your current situation is difficult, and that your request for a funded implant is well supported by those in your community, there are other patients in greater difficulty. On that basis they are given higher priority.

"At this point in order for you to be offered an implant the Ministry of Health would need to provide additional funding above the current volumes.

"You will be aware from earlier conversations with the programme that we receive funding for 20 adults per annum.

"We receive 80-100 new referrals each year. All new referrals are prioritised alongside existing referrals, so earlier referral does not necessarily mean earlier funding.

"We have 150 adults who have been recommended as candidates, all with varying degrees of priority, all of whom are waiting on funding."

Ms MacKay said she was so upset by the news, she broke down crying.

"How am I ineligible for a cochlear implant? I am losing my hearing and each time I get a hearing test it's always degrading from the previous test."

"I do not understand.

"I am so upset and angry that I'm going to keep fighting no matter what."

Green MP Mojo Mathers has been supporting Ms MacKay in her battle and says she is "stunned" by the decision.

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