Give all cancer patients in Wales access to a cancer drugs fund
This petition had 98,162 supporters
I've been friends with Ann Wilkinson and her husband Allan for over 20 years. 3 years ago Ann was diagnosed with bowel cancer and I've been at her side through rounds of chemo and each time she was told the cancer has spread.
I was also with Ann and Allan when they received the news that Ann would not be given funding to receive a drug that could extend her life. I watched their tears of despair; the first time I had seen Ann cry in the 3 and half years she has been ill. That evening Allan had a heart attack.
The Government has set up the Cancer Drug Fund to pay for treatment just like the treatment Ann needs. But only patients in England have access to it and we live in Wales. The Welsh Government has refused to set up a similar fund.
It seems so unfair -- like Ann, the majority of patients believe that they have paid into a national health service all their lives, and therefore should receive parity of treatment. That's why I've started this petition calling for people in Wales to have the same access to cancer treatments as patients in England.
This week the Government announced a further £80 million per year to the Cancer Drug Fund. The new money means the total amount committed will be £1.16bn but it won't help Ann.
Ann's case has been blighted by delays and mis-management. She faced rounds of chemo and now her tumours are not responding to treatment as well as we had been hoped. Her only option is to try the drug Avastin. It can extend the lives of bowel cancer patients by at least two years and often much longer.
Avastin is expensive so it was not approved for free use on the NHS. That's why the Government set up the Cancer Drug Fund to help patients get access to drugs like Avastin. In Wales there is no such fund and requests go the Individual Patient Funding Request body, which deals with everything from plastic surgery to fat removal and does not include cancer specialists. The majority of requests for specialist and expensive cancer drugs are turned down.
If Ann was living in England she would have access to the Cancer Drug Fund. Instead Ann is left to face the gruelling chemotherapy that is proving ineffective, and we, her family and friends, must come to terms with the reality that there are no other treatments available.
We are all part of the National Health Service and I believe Welsh patients should have the same access to these drugs. Ann wants this campaign to succeed in order for others to have a better chance than she's been given. Please support us.
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