A WAR veteran from Abergavenny who was facing nine months of agony after the NHS said they could not treat an infected wisdom tooth before that time has had it removed privately - with his family now looking for charities to help cover the bill.

The Free Press reported last month how Charles Christmas, 85, needed to have the tooth removed but had been told there was a NHS waiting list of nine months.

This has now led Mr Christmas' family paying the £2,000 needed so that he could have the treatment done at St Joseph's Hospital in Newport.

The family negotiated they would pay for it after the dental work in mid July.

Mr Christmas' son Mark is now looking for charities to pay the £2,000 and the appeal has already raised £500 from one donor.

And Mark said he wanted universal care for all those who have served in the armed forces. He said: “It should be across the board veterans cover. If those girls and gals volunteer it should come to them when they leave.”

Mr Christmas served for 22 years in the Fleet Air Arm in the Royal Navy and on aircraft carrier HMS Triumph during the Korean War.

Mark said before the tooth was removed his father was unable to eat without pain and was “susceptible and vulnerable” because of the infected tooth.

He added Mr Christmas was offered an NHS dental appointment in Blackwood about three and a half weeks after the treatment was completed – even though he lives about 200 metres from Nevill Hall Hospital.

An Aneurin Bevan Health Board spokesman said while they were pleased Mr Christmas had completed the treatment but they were limited in what they could say.

He said: “We cannot comment on specific details of individual cases due to confidentiality. Generally speaking, in many cases it is only appropriate for an oral surgical procedure to be carried out in hospital, this can be due to factors such as age, medications, and other medical conditions. Any patient would then be treated in accordance with their clinical priority.”