Case study: Treatment decision 'shocking'

Violet Buyers, 85, is a carer for her 90-year-old husband. Her heart problems make the task even more difficult, but the Tavi procedure to fit a new valve could help her immensely.

She was told by her doctor three years ago that she could benefit from it. "My husband really doesn't keep well, and I need the operation to look after him," she said.

"Every year I am getting older. I can't have open heart surgery because I have emphysema. They said I would die in theatre.

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"With this new procedure they put the valve in from up your leg. But they can't do it in Scotland.

"They asked me if I'd go down to England and I said yes. But as the years go on, I am getting far too old for that sort of thing."

Mrs Buyers, from Stenhouse, Edinburgh, said it made it difficult to do as much as she could to look after her husband, Robert.

She said she thought Scotland was a leading region for carrying out heart surgery. "But now you can't get this done, and I think it is shocking," she said.

"The doctor said they would not give them the money to get the procedure done. It is sad."