Monday, 4 August 2008

'NHS is leaving patients to die'

Kidney cancer patient Clive Stone has begged Health Secretary Alan Johnson to step in and halt the 'postcode lottery' over a life-extending drug.

Mr Stone, from Freeland, near Witney, sent a letter to Mr Johnson about the refusal of Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust to give the drug Sunitinib to 20 patients, and asked the Government to intervene.

He sent it on July 16 and is disappointed he has not yet received a reply, saying cancer victims deserve quick action because they do not have a lot of time.

The letter was also copied to Witney MP David Cameron who sent Mr Stone an email acknowledging receipt.

The 60-year-old is campaigning on behalf of all the people in Oxfordshire who have been denied the drug Sunitinib by the Trust.

Mr Stone, chairman of the cancer support group FROG (Friends of Renal Oncology Group), said: "I am disappointed I have not yet received a reply from Alan Johnson. I sent him a personal letter on behalf of all the victims of this postcode lottery, urging him to intervene.

"Half the Government is on holiday, meanwhile nothing has been done and we are being left here to die.

"I have been a fighter all my life, but there are some older people in the same position who don't know where to turn. The nurses and doctors who I have seen have been fantastic but their hands are tied."

Oxfordshire PCT has declined to start funding the drug ahead of its approval next year by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. To date, 20 patients have been denied the drug by the PCT.

Mr Stone was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year and had a kidney removed, but the disease spread to his lungs.

Read the rest of the article here.