Refused Mesothelioma treatment
Lung cancer victim Ethel Hallam has been denied a vital drug treatment for Mesothelioma because she lives five miles outside Greater Manchester.
The Grandma was stunned when doctors said she couldn't have the same treatment as people on the same ward.
They said she lived outside the area and her authority refused to pay the £6,000 bill.
Mrs Hallam, 70, suffers from a rare asbestos-related cancer and was being treated at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Other patients on the ward were receiving a pioneering form of chemotherapy, called Alimta. But Mrs Hallam lives in Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire and was refused funding for the drug by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust (PCT).
If Mrs Hallam, who is originally from Hulme, lived anywhere in Greater Manchester the drug would be paid for because the area's ten PCTs have agreed to fund it. It is up to each trust to decide whether to pay for new drugs until a national decision is made.
Last night Mrs Hallam, who has been sent home from hospital because there is no other treatment, branded the other treatment, branded the decision as "shameful and unjust".
Mesothelioma lung cancer treatment not a cure
There is no cure for this form of cancer, which is known as mesothelioma, but this treatment has prolonged and improved the lives of sufferers.
Mrs Hallam's daughter Louise Dowd, 46, said: "Mum is very sick and we know there is no cure for her condition but her doctors said they thought Alimta would really help her.
"She was expecting to start treatment when they found out her health trust wouldn't pay. Other patients on her ward were getting it the drug and when we found out she would have got receive it too if she lived down the road in Disley we couldn't believe it. The PCT said their decision was made on a clinical basis, which I find astounding because the clinical decision was made when the doctors at Wythenshawe, who specialise in treating this form of cancer, agreed it."
Mrs Hallam had already been prepared when she was told the treatment could not go ahead.
Mrs Hallam has already lost her parents and three brothers to cancer and Mrs Dowd believes the family have suffered from cancer because her grandfather, Ethel's father, worked with asbestos when he built power stations.
Mrs Hallam's brother Harold also worked for Turner and Newall and died of asbestosis, a second brother Gerard died of cancer of the oesophagus six years ago while another brother George died of lung cancer last year.
Mrs Hallam, who has raised money for cancer research, said: "I've lost my whole family to cancer and I believe that's due to asbestos. This is the one time someone could have helped but they have decided not to."
A Wythenshawe Hospital spokesperson said: "The patient was recommended for treatment with Alimta on clinical grounds. PCTs within Greater Manchester have agreed to fund the drug for Greater Manchester patients.
"For patients outside Greater Manchester funding has to be agreed with individual PCTs, and in this case it was not agreed."
NICE making decision about Mesothelioma treatment
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which investigates whether new treatments are cost effective and should be provided on the NHS, said it was unlikely to approve funding of Alimta the drug, in June. but the drug company which manufactures it says the calculations are based in faulty figures. NICE It will publish its final decision on Alimta later this month.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County PCT said: "We consider requests for treatments not provided routinely at a panel, which includes a senior public health doctor, experienced GP and a lay person. We take our responsibilities very seriously and take every care in reaching our decisions. Should NICE recommend that the treatment be made available, the PCT will implement this guidance at the earliest opportunity."
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