A PENSIONER was forced to choose between urgent cancer or eye surgery after her initial operation was put off to free up beds for coronavirus patients.

Pauline Hinton, from Ramsey, was diagnosed with a tumour on her lungs in February after she developed breathing difficulties.

The 74-year-old was then referred to Colchester Hospital, then the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre, in Basildon Hospital.

Ms Hinton’s life-saving surgery was scheduled for March 25, but it was cancelled the day before due to the hospital “needing to free up beds for potential coronavirus patients”.

Her surgery was then rescheduled for April 14 - which fell on the same day as her urgent eye surgery with SpaMedica, a provider of NHS eye patient services, in Chelmsford.

Ms Hinton took the decision to continue with the cancer surgery and had no choice but to cancel the eye surgery.

She said: “The cancer surgery was successful but now I can’t see, get out or drive.

“My neighbours have helped deliver essentials to me, but I am not being told when my surgery will be rescheduled for.

“I am going more blind each day.”

On December 12, 2019, Ms Hinton had a cataract removed, but she was booked in for more eye surgery for April 14.

She said: “I was informed by SpaMedica I was on the priority list when I cancelled.

“I was assured by SpaMedica I would be given priority because I was told shouldn’t be walking around like this unable to see.”

More than a month later, Ms Hinton says she still has no indication as to when her appointment will be rebooked for.

She also claimed Basildon Hospital - where she had the tumour removed - has not checked up on her since she was discharged from hospital on April 24.

SpaMedica’s website states there are two-week waiting times for first appointments and four weeks for surgery or treatment.

A Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “We are sorry Ms Hinton feels upset that she has not heard from the hospital since she was discharged late last month, and we would welcome her to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to address any of her concerns.

“They can be contacted via pals@btuh.nhs.uk or 01268 394440.”

SpaMedica and Colchester Hospital did not respond before the Standard went to print.