Thousands of terminally ill patients denied drugs from the NHS

Thousands of terminally ill patients denied drugs from the NHS

According to a report thousands of cancer and other serious illness sufferers are being denied the drugs which they desperately need from the NHS.

At least 14,000 patients a year are not receiving the treatments which have been approved for them according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Figures show that many cancer sufferers are not receiving medication which could potentially lengthen their lives.

Experts have stated that the report uncovered an “endemic and disastrous postcode lottery” of care within the health service.  Many charities have found the statistics “alarming” as it meant that many patients were doomed to an early death because the local NHS bodies weren’t funding the drugs which had been proven to work.

At creation of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence ( Nice) officials promised that patients would receive the same medical treatment across the country and ensured that patients would have easy access to drugs that had been found effective.

However the findings show that this is not the case and that thousands of patients suffering from different types of cancer, motor neurone disease and an eye condition (wet age-related macular degeneration) which is the most common cause of blindness are not receiving the best treatment that is available.

The research which investigated 10 common treatments which had been approved by Nice showed that in 3 of the groups there was a clear difference between the number of patients who should have been given the drugs and the numbers of were actually prescribed them.

The data was the worst for renal cancer and motor neurone disease which collectively affects more than 11,000 people a year. The report showed that only one in three patients received the life extending drugs.

The Chief Executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, Andrew Wilson has stated that patients are suffering from  “an endemic postcode lottery in access to Nice-approved medicines”. He also said that “It is extremely worrying that the NHS does not seem to be making available cancer treatments to all patients who could benefit, even when the drug is approved by Nice,”

The Chief Operating Officer of the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer, Nick Turkentine said: “Sutent was one of the first drugs to be approved for kidney cancer — it is really disastrous that patients are still having to battle for a drug which we know can give several extra years of life.”

One of the spokesmen for Department of Health stated that:: “Patients have a right to drugs and treatments that have been approved by Nice and we expect the NHS to provide them if they are needed. “That is why the Chief Executive of the NHS has written to the local NHS requiring them to publish which NHS organisations are funding and using drugs and treatments approved by Nice, and which are not.”

Original Article

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