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Cancer patient wins drug battle after NHS U-turn

29 April 2010

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A woman suffering from a rare form of cancer has won the right on appeal for the NHS to fund the only drug which could help prolong her life.

Nikki Phelps, 37, a glandular cancer sufferer, had already spent her £6,000 life savings on Sunitinib. She was set to sell her home in Luddesdown, Kent, to pay for the treatment because she had been told she does not have the right type of cancer to qualify for it on the NHS.

Earlier in April, the mother-of-two criticised the fact that she could not receive the drug despite the government’s pledge to give sufferers of rare cancers easier access to life-extending drugs.

But following an appeals panel review of her case by NHS West Kent, it has agreed to backdate its decision to 1 February, repaying £9,150 the couple had spent.

Husband Bill Phelps, 45, told the Daily Mail it was “ridiculous” that they had to go to such lengths in the first place.

An NHS West Kent spokesman said: “After reviewing the current application for the cancer treatment Sunitinib, NHS West Kent has decided to fund the drug in this case.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

NHS West Kent

“And now she has died. This may sum up what a terrible and disgraceful mess the NHS is in. With vast amounts of money spent on useles initiatives, drug wastages, leaflets printed and never read, overstaffing in management and some would say ridiculous levels of salary for some very highly paid staff, it’s time the whole thing was dismantled in its present form. In the great scheme of things the cost of the drug for this lady would have been a drop in the ocean. The NHS should hang its head in shame” – Marie, Lancs