Alderney man forced to move for treatment feels ‘exiled’

A MAN with roots in Alderney going back to the 1540s is being made to leave the island and move to Guernsey for the rest of his life to receive critical dialysis treatments.

Health & Social Care cannot comment on individual cases, but a spokesperson said it was not possible to provide all medical services on all Bailiwick islands.

Tim Odoire, 76, has kidney issues but his condition stabilised four years ago when he and his wife decided to move back home to Alderney after completing a successful career as a solicitor in Wiltshire.

He asked a GP at the time whether, if worst came to worst and he needed dialysis, he could have that treatment in Alderney.

‘I was told that there was a patient on dialysis at the time, so it was possible, but that my wife Christine and I would spend a few months in Guernsey so she could learn how the machine worked for us to return to our home where my family has lived for centuries to continue my treatment,’ Mr Odoire said.

Around three years ago the previous patient had a kidney transplant, something that is not an option for Mr Odoire because of his age, meaning the equipment went back to Guernsey.

‘I was told at a recent consultation with my GP that I would have to move to Guernsey for the rest of my life.’

Mr and Mrs Odoire are coming across to Guernsey today and he will begin dialysis next Monday.

‘Although I don’t feel particularly bad, the blood tests show that things are fairly dire – but this has added so much stress, we’ve thought of nothing else for months,’ he said.

‘Christine and I have been married 53 years and there’s been no consideration at all from the authorities for her, she seems to have been completely disregarded.’

The attitude towards his situation has, he says, not been great. He has been made to feel like a ‘nuisance’ and as though he is being ‘exiled’.

‘Nothing seems to have been done with much kindness or compassion, it’s all just “by the rulebook”,’ he said.

Of considerable concern is the couple’s living arrangements.

‘If I was coming for treatment in Guernsey from Alderney, I would get my air fare to and from paid for,’ he explained.

‘But because I’m in Guernsey, I will no longer be treated as a resident of Alderney so will not get air fares paid for to go back home. We’re not ready to pack up our life in Alderney, we want to be able to get back there as much as possible in between treatments – it’s our home.’

A six-month temporary permit has been granted on medical grounds, but anything beyond that would have to be under open market.

‘Even temporary holiday accommodation don’t want us there after June for [when the borders open up], and that would be a hugely expensive exercise,’ he said.

Feeling let down, Mr Odoire said no-one had helped him figure out his options and he felt Chief Minister Deputy Peter Ferbrache’s regular references to ‘our friends in Alderney’ in Covid press conferences did not really seem to be the reality.

Health & Social Care was contacted by the Guernsey Press for a response and said the committee does not comment on individual cases or historical provision of haemodialysis stations at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Dialysis in the Bailiwick is only provided at the PEH, which HSC said ensures safe and consistent delivery.

‘HSC provides services to the Bailiwick community through its collective staff and facilities but it is not practical to provide all services in all island locations. In the same way that the PEH is not able to provide all of the specialist services that patients might need – some are commissioned off-island with travel arranged for service users accordingly,’ a spokesman said.

‘Staff within HSC provide advice to existing service users and individuals relocating to the Bailiwick as regards the locations of service and the specific arrangements in place for the provision of all its services. Individuals must check information directly if advice is provided by doctors or other individuals working outside of HSC.’

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