Cancer Patient Refused Treatment Trial In NHS Postcode Lottery

Heather Parkinson, 27, from Preston said, she was kept waiting for 13 weeks as NHS Central Lancashire considered whether to pay £3,000 for a trial of CD25 targeted radiotherapy at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Eventually, they decided they would not be funding the unlicensed treatment, which could have successfully treated her Hodgkin's lymphoma. Her NHS health trust has refused to foot the bill, just months after agreeing to increase managers' salaries by £3 million. They also spent £18,000 on bottled water last year and almost £1 million paying NHS staff suspended during investigations.

The owner of a pet shop, Parkinson, who has been told if she does not get the therapy, her tumours will continue to grow, even kill her, claims she is the victim of a postcode lottery, as other PCTs countrywide have given funding for patients.

Dr Steve Ward, NHS Central Lancashire's Medical Director tendering an apology to Parkinson said they were sorry for the delay in coming to a decision, including the distress this had caused.

According to him, each case was different and they could not recommend funding for a treatment, without making certain it was clinically effective, evidence-based and safe.

Parkinson was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the glands, eight years ago, and though she had chemotherapy to beat the disease, the tumours have returned and could have become resistant this time round.

Doctors recommend her best chance is to have a cell stem transplant and her sister has volunteered to become a donor. However, before she begins treatment, her tumours will need to be shrunk.

Her doctors had heard of a cancer drug trial for Basiliximab in London, with the London researchers agreeing Heather was an ideal candidate, they asked her health trust to fund the £3,000 treatment.

After a 13-week delay, NHS Central Lancashire said they could not fund the treatment, as it was not proven to work.