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Tyler's Story

14 January 2013

Burning Issue

Meet Tyler – 2013 is a big year for him as he turns 5 at the end of April and is eagerly anticipating starting school…but, there is a very real hearing problem that needs sorting before he can effectively learn and achieve at school.

Tyler has fluid in both ears that is stopping his ear drums from vibrating to sound and he needs grommets (ventilation tubes placed in his ear drums) to assist with regaining his hearing.

Initially, his family who live in Christchurch were told the waiting list for grommet surgery was 18 months. Fortunately, their GP intervened, advocating for more urgent intervention. Tyler was then placed on the semi-urgent list and his family was advised it would be at least 6 months before he could get an appointment to be assessed for surgery.

His parents are very worried as they have been struggling with significant behavioural issues, much of which they now believe can be explained by Tyler’s hearing impairment.

They simply want their son to be able to hear and learn as other children do when he goes to school at the end of April, a wish that most parents take for granted.

We are aware there is a national review of grommet funding in progress and we are drawing this case to the public’s attention to show there is already insufficient funding for children such as Tyler. In fact, there needs to be sufficient funding in the public health service to care for children like Tyler, not a reduction.


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