A DUNFERMLINE teenager has developed a condition where he can’t feel his hands.

And the family of Daniel McLean are angry that a request to swap a vital neurology appointment has been knocked back. His mum Lynn said: "He starts fifth year soon and like any 16 year-old, he needs his hands. He can’t hold a pen.”

Daniel visited doctors in May after he began to lose feeling in his hands and was given an urgent referral to Victoria Hospital’s neurology department.

Lynn was told he faces a wait of around 15 weeks so she and sister Diana McIntosh asked if they could give Daniel an appointment which his auntie already had for the same department.

This request was knocked back as hospital staff said there was an “ethical issue” with changing the appointment.

“It is horrible – this all started at the end of May and they got a request for an urgent appointment on June 7,” she explained. “He had just finished his exams thankfully but it is really affecting him now."

Daniel’s illness came on suddenly and began with a pain in his neck which had affected his legs and resulted in him losing feeling in his feet as well. Thankfully his legs and feet are back to normal however his arms and hands are still affected.

“He can’t brush his teeth properly and he’s really embarrassed about it. I am quite disabled myself and I am causing myself pain and suffering doing things for him like putting shoes and socks on and cutting food up for him, Lynn said.

“He has been prescribed anti depressants because of it all – a 16 year-old shouldn’t be left feeling like this.

“He’s back at school next week and he’s really worried about it as he can’t even hold a sandwich. He’s even saying he’s not going to eat when he’s at school.”

She added: “We cannot understand why they wont let him have my sister's appointment. There’s a boy needing to be seen urgently – my sister is already disabled and it is just a check-up she is going for so I can not understand why there is an ethical issue.

Diana said: “He’s just a normal boy – he likes football and computer games but he can’t do any of it. He sits at the door waiting for the postman, waiting for a letter from the hospital. It’s heartbreaking.”

Daniel admitted he was “fed up”: “I would like it to go away as quick as possible. I am quite worried about it. I can’t hold a remote control for the TV or Playstation or a pencil.”

While not able to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality, NHS Fife medical director, Dr Frances Elliot, said: "Before a referral is made, patients are most often seen by a GP or another health professional who will make an initial assessment. This assessment allows doctors to determine the order that patients are seen and ensures that those at greatest risk receive the most urgent attention.

“It is also important that patients see the most appropriate doctor for their specific condition. Within each area of medicine there are sub-specialities with different consultants often having enhanced knowledge and expertise in the treatment of particular group of conditions over others. This is important when appointments are allocated and helps to improve the effectiveness of the treatment that our patients receive.”