Moira was in her 40s and had suffered with severe tinnitus and deafness in one ear for three years. This caused an incessant loud noise in her head which was having a significant impact on her mental health. Moira’s consultant thought that she could benefit from a cochlear implant and was willing to perform the operation but the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) repeatedly refused to fund it. Moira and her family were severely depressed by the situation. Moira felt that her life was no longer worth living, and at one stage attempted to take her own life.

Moira was in touch with an advocate who had attended one of our project learning events. This advocate supported her to go back to her GP to explain the impact the CCG’s decision was having on her. Armed with some research that showed how someone in a similar situation had benefitted from a cochlear implant, Moira used her right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment (protected by Article 3 of the Human Rights Act) and told her GP that she thought it would be inhumane to leave her suffering when treatment was available. The GP eventually managed to secure funding for her treatment from an alternative source. Moira and her family were overjoyed. Moira felt that she was getting her life back and her children were getting their mum back.

Example from BIHR’s protect Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy

This story is also shared in BIHR's booklet Mental Health, Mental Capacity: Raising a Human Rights Issue