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NHS change of heart over life-saving cancer treatment
2:00pm Friday 2nd August 2013 in News
A MUM-of-three who was refused cancer treatment has been told the NHS is now prepared to provide the life-extending procedure.
Two months ago Kathy Craven learned she wouldn’t be able to have selective internal radiotherapy treatment (SIRT) for the cancer in her liver without funding it privately.
The treatment is currently approved by NHS England on a case-by-case basis.
After she issued a heartfelt-plea in the Daily Echo and online, well-wishers raised £30,000 in just a week, and Ms Craven, 43, underwent the first stage of SIRT at Southampton General Hospital on July 4.
But the NHS has now decided to fund the treatment, and she is offering all those who donated money a refund.
“It was so unexpected, as far as we were concerned they wouldn’t fund it and that was that,” she said.
“It is positive news, but it shows that if you find a treatment like this that you are sure can help you have to kick and scream or you won’t get anywhere.”
She said the donations had nevertheless been vital in getting timely treatment.
“If people hadn’t made these donations I would still be waiting,” she added.
“It was an incredibly dark time for me, I wondered if my life was worth £30,000. To have so many people supporting me when I needed it pulled me through.
“They have given me time with my children.”
Ms Craven’s friend is contacting donors through the website youcaring.com/kathys -crew, although some have said to keep their contribution so she can take sons Alfie, 13, Finn, eight, and Casey, seven, on family outings.
She will see her specialist later this month to assess the success of the first stage of SIRT.
Ms Craven, who lives in Wimborne with her children and husband Brian, has been battling cancer for nearly six years.
A spokesman for NHS England said the body had changed its response after additional clinical information was provided by Ms Craven’s doctors.
He said: “This demonstrates the robustness of the individual funding requests panel decision-making process, and the absolute need for such decisions to be made on the basis of all clinical information being available.”
‘Go to MP for advice’
AS part of her efforts to get the NHS to approve her treatment Kathy Craven contacted MP Annette Brooke, asking her to put pressure on the Department of Health.
The MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole praised Ms Craven’s determination and said people who are refused treatment should seek a second opinion.
“This was potentially a really tragic case,” she said.
“I wrote to the minister and had a good response on why the answer ‘no’ had been given, but she was sympathetic and said come and talk to me to see what we can do as there was a strong case to go back to the GP and state the case.
“I’m just delighted the money is going to be paid now, and I’m pleased I managed to help in a little way, but it’s all power to Kathy. My message to the general public is if you don’t get permission first time around it’s always worth going to breast cancer charities, or your MP, for advice.”
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