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19 January 2012, 06:00
A seven year old boy who suffers from cancer has had to be rushed to Germany for vital treatment after doctors in Britain cancelled his operation twice because of a shortage of beds.
Zac Knighton-Smith, who lives in Rushden, Northamptonshire, suffers from a rare type of cancer called Neuroblastoma which affects the developing nerve cells of children.
A scan in June revealed three cancerous lymph nodes in his abdomen and an operation was booked for December 22nd. Bed shortages meant the date was put back to 19 January 2012, but after his mum Sam complained, a date was found in Leicester for January 4th.
However when a shortage of beds caused this to be cancelled just two hours before Zac was due to leave for hospital, his parents decided to fly him to Germany where the operation was carried out in a matter of days. They had to fork out thousands of pounds but NHS Northamptonshire has since promised to refund their costs
Sam told Heart ''We were trying to decide where we were going to get the money from to be honest. I'm very pleased that they have done that but I feel that that's the least they could've done in the circumstances.
''To cancel the bed of a child with cancer who needed the operation yesterday, it's just not good enough. I still believe that a bed could've been found for him.''
A spokesperson for NHS Northamptonshire said ''A seven year old boy is receiving continuing treatment in Leicester, Nottingham and Germany for a rare childhood cancer.
"Over a 12 month period NHS Northamptonshire has funded a course of treatment including the cost of travel and accommodation for his family.
"The particular complexities in this clinical case have brought about the development, through and by the NHS, of a unique relationship involving the medical teams in Germany, Leicester and Nottingham.
"Although there has been no direct discussion with the family about the latest treatment costs in Germany, we can confirm that the cost of treatment is being borne by the NHS. The family has already been adbvised of this by the patient's Consultant.''