Nurse has to pay £15k for lifesaving treatment

Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

A NURSE from Levenmouth has been forced to pay over 15K for lifesaving cancer drugs after Fife NHS refused to fund her treatment.

The 49-year-old woman, who underwent chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus last November, was denied Herceptin – a drug which is freely available in England.

“I underwent various tests and it was found that I am high in the Her 2 hormone which is a requirement for the drug to be effective,” said the mum-of-one, who wants to remain anonymous.

“My consultant applied for funding but this was refused first of all by the Oncology Medicines Management Committee and then NHS Fife.

“I am now paying for the drug privately, but I wouldn’t be able to afford it if it were not for the fantastic fundraising efforts of my friends and family and I can’t thank them enough.”

She added: “I think it is so unfair that I have to do this – after all, it is supposed to be a national health service.”

The situation has infuriated MP Lindsay Roy, who said it was a scandal that Scots were being denied treatment.

“The Scottish Government should hang its head in shame that this is happening and I have written to Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon urging her to intervene,” he said.

Mr Roy was informed by Professor McGoldrick of Fife NHS that the Scottish Medicines Consortium – of which the NHS paid heed – had not approved Herceptin for use in oesophageal cancer “because it is not considered that the health economic case has been made”.

The MP, who has taken up the charge nurse’s case, commented: “This is a lady who has dedicated her life to improving the health and well-being of other people through the NHS over many years, yet when she needs help herself, she is turned down because the treatment is allegedly not cost effective.

“It is entirely wrong that she is denied access to this medication because she lives in Scotland – it seems totally unjust and I can readily understand her anger and frustration.

“This is not something of which Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government can be proud.”