NHS funding challenge3rd September 2007
A Conservative MEP has asked the European Commission to look into whether the NHS postcode "lottery" contravenes European law.
Chris Heaton-Harris, MEP for East Midlands, has claimed that current NHS policy breaks European anti-discrimination laws. He has brought the case for a cancer patient living in Rugby, Russ Jones.
Mr Heaton-Harris said: "If you're being withheld treatment because of
where you live, it could be similar as being denied treatment because
of your religion or colour."
Mr Jones, who is terminally ill and suffers from abdominal cancer, has had to pay thousands of pounds for drugs as Warwickshire PCT will not fund his treatment.
However the drug, Suvent, which can extend a patient's life-span, is funded by other trusts in England.
Mr Jones has to pay £3,500 each month for the treatment. He told BBC News 24: "I know ...this is the only chance that is available."
"Without it I will die sooner than I would."
Warwickshire PCT released a statement. It said the trust had "a duty" to ensure that all its patients received care and the Individual Cases Panel had considered the case with "a lot of thought and consideration".
The Department of Health said it was "unacceptable" for PCTs not to offer treatment that was offered in other parts of the country and that trusts should not deny treatment on the grounds of cost.
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Title: NHS funding challenge
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3966
Date Added: 3rd Sep 2007