NHS drug lottery move welcomed
PUBLISHED: 16:32 07 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:15 10 June 2010
EXMOUTH and Budleigh Salterton families of victims who died after being refused life-prolonging drugs have welcomed the government's vow to end the NHS postcode lottery. Marie Davis, widow of Bob Davis, in Brixington, Exmouth, and Lisa Chambers, daughter
EXMOUTH and Budleigh Salterton families of victims who died after being refused life-prolonging drugs have welcomed the government's vow to end the NHS postcode lottery.Marie Davis, widow of Bob Davis, in Brixington, Exmouth, and Lisa Chambers, daughter of the late Hazel Watts, of Budleigh Salterton, said Health Secretary Alan Johnson's promise to allow everyone access to the same drugs was a bitter sweet victory.On Monday a new NHS constitution - to coincide with the healthcare's 60th anniversary - promised everyone a written guarantee to the right to drugs or treatment.And the government is to speed up its approval of new drugs - most will be available in three months - no one will have to wait more than six months for pioneering treatments.Marie Davis, of Parkside Drive, Exmouth, whose husband Bob, 70, suffered from an advanced form of kidney cancer but lost his life in October 2007 to the disease after Devon PCT refused to fund a life-prolonging drug - said no family should have to go through the cruel fight to beg for a drug to prolong a loved-one's life - or watch that person die knowing help was available but inaccessible. "Words fail me. It makes me angry to think about it," said Mrs Davis. "I am pleased for other families but it's too late for Bob."Lisa Chambers' kidney cancer patient mother Hazel Watts won a lengthy battle to receive life-prolonging Nexavar but was so weak by the time her Devon PCT appeal was heard she died in May 2007 before the drugs were administered.Mrs Chambers, of Queens Road, Budleigh Salterton, said the government's decision to end the postcode lottery misery was 'bittersweet'."I am glad for other people but it's come too late for us," she said. "It does hurt as mum could still have been here. I am pleased others don't have to go through the same fight."Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the constitution - highlighting the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff - was the first of its kind anywhere in the world."What people want is a national health service and they want a national consistency," said Mr Johnson.