NEARLY 3000 signatures have been gathered in support of the health campaign spearheaded on behalf of Scottish people by Methilhill nurse Anna Flaws.
Anna, who wants Scots to have equal access to National Health Service medical treatment as people in other parts of the UK, is due to hand a petition over to the Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday).
She hopes the crusade will mean greater fairness in terms of treatment and perhaps offer hope to people who, like her, have been diagnosed with a terminal condition.
Anna, who turns 50 this month, has been fighting oesophageal cancer since 2010 and has benefited considerably from the drug Herceptin.
However, the Scottish Medical Consortium (SMC) has not approved it for treatent in Scotland, on economic grounds, and Anna has had to seek it privately.
NHS Fife, which follows SMC guidelines, has so far not funded it.
The petition calls for the Scottish Government to ensure people in Scotland have similar access to NHS treatment for cancer, and other conditions, that currently exists in England.
Anna said she was extremely grateful for the support but stressed again that the campaign was not solely for her.
It was a quest to secure parity for as many people as possible who were facing serious illness but felt thwarted because certain treatments were not available in Scotland.
There were many unavailable drugs which were far less expensive than some which could be obtained, she added.
It was crucial, Anna told the Mail, that if you were diagnosed terminally, you were given some hope.
That seemed less likely in Scotland, where, in many cases, people were effectively sent home to die.
Anna feared the issue was already too tangled up in politics and money issues facing the NHS, and said her treatment would not change because of the crusade.
But she hoped the SMC would reconsider its position and there would be more fairness for people in Scotland, whom she felt lacked a voice on the issue.
Local MP Lindsay Roy, who backs the campaign, said the biggest concerns were the differential treatment issue – “to do with fairness and justice, of what should be a national health service” – and lack of detailed explanation on why some drugs were available in England but not Scotland.