YOUR correspondent K Barnes has just cause to be grateful for her influential friend, the MP for Stretford. Had I been so lucky, I could have saved myself a considerable amount of money.

I am a disabled ex-serviceman riddled with arthiritis. My car is therefore absolutely essential to maintain a reasonable degree of mobilitiy and standard of life.

In April, I was referred to our eye specialist, who saw me in Augus. He confirmed that I had cataracts in both eyes, one so advanced that I was virtually sightless in that eye.

When asked how soon I could expect to have corrective surgery, he replied "eighteen months."

Assuming the cataract on the "best" eye would deteriorate as quickly as the other, I would be that time be virtually sightless and consequently unable to drive.

Forced to ask my GP for a private referral, he asked me if I could afford it.

I made the obvious reply: "In my circumstances, can I afford not to?"

Ebenezer Brown might well have nine billion pounds in the bank, accumulated no doubt by welshing on his current NHI obligations.

Mugged, Stretford

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