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In 1996, one patient attempted to speed up his eye clinic appointment, offering to go on a standby basis, but was told that the hospital never had cancellations.

Four months later, in January 1997, when he went to his appointment, he was fifth on the list - but the first four patients did not turn up. He was diagnosed as having a cataract forming in one eye.

In October 1998, nearly blind in that eye, he tried to check where he was on the waiting list, only to be told he was not on the waiting list.

In November 1998, he was put on a waiting list and told to expect a wait of 18 months. He complained to the trust, the prime minister and his MP without success - he was told the cataract was not ready for surgery.

He had the operation done privately. The surgeon noted that the cataract was over-ripe, which had made his job more difficult and the operation more hazardous.

(source: College of Health)