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OAP told to wait a year for nail trim.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by MAURICE FITZMAURICE

A DISABLED pensioner has been told he faces a 12-month wait - to get his toenails cut.

Lifelong shipyard worker Joe Agnew said he was sent by his GP to a clinic where they would trim the nails.

But the 70-year-old was informed there is a year-long waiting list.

Speaking from his East Belfast home, Joe added: "I'm in so much pain, it might be better if the toes were off.

"At least I will be able to get around in comfort. The health service is stretched but this is hardly a big operation.

"If I or my family could do it safely I wouldn't even bother the doctors about it."

Joe has suffered from colitis for 20 years and the illness has left him with serious disabilities - including the loss of grip and strength in his hands.

The illness also means the brave pensioner has had all the joints in his toes removed, forcing the digits downwards and impossible to cut.

Joe said: "I have worked all my days, even after I was disabled, and I also brought up three children on my own.

"My father fought in the World War I and was held in a camp for three years. If all the heroes who fought for our futures knew what was going on they would be turning in their graves."

East Belfast MLA Michael Copeland said he will raise the issue with Health Minister John Reid.

A spokesman for the South and East Belfast Trust would only state there has been no referral for Joe.

However, the Mirror understands Joe was told at the Templemore Avenue Health Centre he would have to wait 12 months for an appointment.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 4, 2004
Words:285
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