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Cancer patient takes a step closer to Court in fight to win funding for treatment

03/15/2008

Neath Port Talbot Local Health Board has been given a formal deadline to reconsider its decision not to fund treatment for Tonna kidney cancer patient Jocelyn Hall. Mr Hall is seeking funding for a drug widely available in other parts of the UK, prompting suggestions that he is another casualty of the NHS postcode lottery.
 
On 31st January, after a long campaign by the family and cancer drug campaigner, Kate Spall from The Pamela Northcott Fund, the Health Board ruled that Mr Hall should be denied treatment on the grounds that he is no different from any other kidney cancer sufferer and that the local policy is to refuse funding unless the patient is exceptional.
 
Mr Hall has engaged specialist law firm Ashton Morton Slack to present the Health Board with this ultimatum.  He is asking to be treated with the drug Sunitinib for a trial period in order to gauge whether it is effective and the Health Board has 14 days to reply.  The drug is now available without exception through a number of NHS Trusts and health authorities.
 
Mr Hall’s solicitor Ben Gent said today:

“Mr Hall has turned to the legal system as a last resort.  His case is simple- we are arguing that the Health Board has ignored vital evidence.  Mr Hall is not a typical kidney cancer patient; most patients can undergo surgery followed by primary drug therapy.  For these patients Sunitinib is a second option, which can extend life but not save lives.
 
Mr Hall’s condition is quite different.  He was unable to have surgery and has had no treatment whatsoever for nearly two years.  Sunitinib is a potential lifeline for him- in effect it is Sunitinib or nothing.  The drug gives him a chance of long-term survival and it is hard to think of a more compelling argument than this for funding the drug on a trial basis.”
 
Mr Hall is not alone in his fight.  He has the support of his oncologist, Professor John Wagstaff of Singleton Hospital, Swansea.  He has had vital support from treatment campaigner Kate Spall, who herself lost her mother to kidney cancer before founding the Pamela Northcott Fund as a support network for patients with no where else to turn.  Despite this, after 44 years of employment and contribution, the most important ally might yet be found in a courtroom rather than in the offices of his Local Health Board.

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This press release has been issued by The Pamela Northcott Fund on behalf of Ashton Morton Slack. For more information please contact Kate Spall on 07851 374242 or katespall@btinternet.com

Mr Hall is not available for interview, however his sister would be willing to speak for the family.  Kate Spall from The Pamela Northcott Fund and Mr Hall’s solicitor Ben Gent are also available for comment. Please contact Kate Spall to arrange any interviews.

NeonCRM by Neon One