- Yvonne Briscoe was refused life-prolonging drug from doctors in Wales
- Specialist cancer hospital in Manchester offered her the drug if she moved
- ‘It is all down to cost but how can you put a price on somebody’s life?’, says former council worker
12:58 EST, 19 August 2012
17:06 EST, 19 August 2012
Yvonne Briscoe from Brynford, North Wales, who is suffering from bowel cancer had had to take drastic steps to get the treatment she wanted
A seriously ill cancer patient has been forced to rent a second home so she can receive life-saving treatment because of a postcode lottery in the health service.
Yvonne Briscoe, 57, wanted a drug to reduce her bowel tumour but was refused funding from doctors in her home town in North Wales.
She has been forced to take out a six month lease on a flat in Stockport, Greater Manchester, 53 miles from her family home, so she can qualify for the treatment of Cetuximab at specialist cancer hospital, The Christie, in Manchester.
The drug is not approved by NICE – the National Institute for Clinical Excellence – and is not routinely available in Wales.
But Cetuximab, which is said to prolong life for cancer sufferers who have tried other
drugs that have failed, is more accessible through the Cancer Drugs
Fund in England.
Mrs Briscoe, whose main home is in Brynford, North Wales, applied for Cetuximab in Wales but was turned down for the drug on the grounds that her case was not exceptional.
Mrs Briscoe said: ‘If my case is not an exception I don’t know what it is.
think it’s terrible that i have to rent out a property in another
country simply so I can get the treatment I so desperately need.
‘Although this treatment is available in England, it is unavailable in Wales.
‘It is all down to cost but how can you put a price on somebody’s life?
‘I was absolutely fuming at the decision to refuse funding – especially because I had been misdiagnosed in the first place.’
The retired council worker was misdiagnosed by her own doctor in 2008, who wrongly said the bowel cancer was irritable bowel syndrome.
Tragically, the misdiagnosis resulted in the cancer spreading to her liver and lungs.
Despite the huge blunder, Welsh doctors said Mrs Briscoe is not an ‘exceptional case’ for funding.
Christie Hospital, Manchester, where Mrs Briscoe will be given access to the drug Cetuximab to try and prolong her life
Yvonne Briscoe’s second home in Stockport is 53 miles from her family home in Brynford, Wales. She has rented the second home so she is closer to The Christie hospital
Mrs Briscoe had started chemotherapy at the Glan Clwyd Hospital, 25 minutes away from her home to target the cancer, but in October last year doctors told her that the treatment had stopped having an effect.
She asked about other treatments, determined to find a drug that would help her.
Mrs Briscoe, who lives with her husband Michael, 61, in their home in Wales, arranged to see a consultant at Christie Hospital.
Consultants said she would benefit from Cetuximab and they could treat her there.
But as she lived in Wales she wasn’t able to get it.
Mrs Briscoe said: ‘I felt that I had to do something drastic in order to register for the treatment.
‘Renting in Stockport is not ideal but I was left with no choice.’
She has had to register with a doctor in Stockport and is paying £400 per month to rent the flat.
Mrs Briscoe is currently being treated on a weekly basis with the drug mitomycin C which is keeping the cancer stabilised and so is unable to start the Cetuximab until the treatment is finished, which is likely to be in September.
The Christie Hospital in Manchester, a specialist hospital which is the largest cancer centre in Europe
Mrs Briscoe is paying £400 a month to rent a flat in Stockport so she can receive treatment at the Christie Hospital in Manchester (pictured)
Mrs Briscoe has set up an online petition that she intends to send to the Welsh Assembly Government outlining her case and pushing for a change.
Bosses at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board say Cetuximab is still not recommended by NICE and is not routinely available in Wales as a result.
Dr Matthew Makin, chief of staff of the Cancer Clinical Programme Group, said: ‘We can confirm that in this case a request was considered and no clinical exceptionality was determined and thus in accordance with policy, the request was refused.
‘Whilst we have every sympathy with Ms Briscoe, we have followed the process as it stands in Wales at this time.’
The Cancer Drugs Fund was brought in by the Coalition in 2010, providing £200million for people unable to access drugs because of NICE decisions to get them funded.
The news comes shortly after a cancer
sufferer launched a scathing attack on David Cameron for NHS failings to
fund the cancer treatment she desperately needed.
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Must pay millions to come up with so many anti Dr stories. Given we don’t know what she told Dr in 2009 how do we know she was mis diagnosed?
It is not Drs who deny her drug. Oh and how long will it prolong her life? Probably not very long.
A postcode lottery is an inevitable consequence of a health service which is no longer centrally controlled by the state.
‘It is all down to cost but how can you put a price on somebody’s life?’, says former council worker
– that’;s the government for you, blame those self serving, undeserving bunch of sleazy hypocrites..self promote themselves and claim to be the best people to run our lives..aqnd yet look at the sorry state
a police operation costing 50k a day to stop Julian Assenge escaping to Ecuador? meanwhile we refuse treatment on financial grounds..oh and not to mention there’s far more important things for police to be dealing with, what about all the gangs that run rife in london..guess that’s too much like hard work? Much e easier to stand outside an embassy patiently waiting whilst claiming overtime all at the taxpayers expense both financially and in terms of crime prevention or reaction?
Also amusing in a funny way, that we ccan refuse treatment for this woman..meanwhile the cannibal killer has just been granted a gastric bypass at a cost to us
Yvonne, the company that markets the drug has patient assistance programs for those who are not able to get the drug you just have to sign up online and apply. Good Luck
Welsh healthcare, medical training and health infrastructure is years behind the other side of the border. Ive been a doctor in Wales for 7 years and my English colleagues can’t believe what they see/hear about the state of things here.
Talk about kicking a woman when she’s down. I would rather my taxes went towards saving and prolonging lives than it being wasted as most of it probably is.
Please stop moaning. We all have choices. Either accept the free health care we are privileged to have – ok so some of the treatments may be archaic, but they work. OR go and pay privately.
nhs is not a free service we pay for it throgh our taxes sally london
That’s awful, what a Shame! Xxx
Yet we can spare money for Indias space programme…. disgraceful.
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