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Grandmother's cancer drug victory

PUBLISHED: 18:04 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:41 23 August 2010

JOY: Evelyn McCarroll was paying £1,740 a month for drugs.

JOY: Evelyn McCarroll was paying £1,740 a month for drugs.

A GRANDMOTHER with terminal cancer who pays nearly £2,000 every month for a lifesaving drug, has won an appeal to have it paid by the NHS. Evelyn McCarroll, 58, of Ingoldsby Road, Gravesend, has lung cancer and is taking cancer drug Tarceva, which was

A GRANDMOTHER with terminal cancer who pays nearly £2,000 every month for a "lifesaving" drug, has won an appeal to have it paid by the NHS.

Evelyn McCarroll, 58, of Ingoldsby Road, Gravesend, has lung cancer and is taking cancer drug Tarceva, which was costing her £1,740 a month because she was not entitled to it on the NHS.

West Kent Primary Care Trust, which covers both Dartford and Gravesham, said that because she had already had two courses of chemotherapy she had to pay for it herself.

But on Tuesday, after a third appeal against the decision, she was told they had agreed to prescribe it to her.

Mrs McCarroll, a mother-of-three with four grandchildren, said: "I can't believe it. I just was not expecting to hear that news. It is something I have been hoping for. I have been waiting for so long, it means I can get on with my life.

"If I didn't have these tablets, I would die. I don't know how long I have left, I have never asked the question, but these tablets are lifesaving.

"They mean I can do things I used to not be able to do. There are still so many things I want to do, I want to see my grandchildren grow up. I was lucky that family and friends were helping me pay for the drugs, but that money could not go on for ever. Now I am allowed these drugs, I am over the moon. It will give me the chance to do just that."

The former Manor Shades barmaid, who has also battled both cervical and nose cancer, said her doctors have appealed the decision twice, but both times were rejected. In 1990, she and her family raised £750,000 for an MRI scanner for the former Joyce Green Hospital in Dartford, after her 16-year-old son Jamie died of head injuries after a fight in Gravesend town centre.

Speaking before news of the appeal victory, her husband of 15 years, Bill, an HGV driver, said: "We did have the rest of our lives together to do things, we were going to be able to enjoy our lives, and this drug means we can."

Her case also won support from the

Roy Castle Lung Foundation, which

said she should have been entitled to

the drug if doctors believe it to be

clinically appropriate.

Dr James Thallon, NHS West Kent's Medical Director, said: "NHS West Kent has to consider cases of this kind very carefully, on an individual basis. This is why we have a process that allows patients to appeal so their cases can be heard and reconsidered if necessary.

"The panel felt that NHS West Kent's previous decisions had been justified and sound - we can only go against the NICE guidelines in exceptional circumstances.

"However, the guidelines in this area are still being developed and as a result there have been some differences in the way these are interpreted nationally. Work to clarify the guidance continues, but NHS West Kent decided that rather than subject the patient to more waiting and uncertainty, funding for the treatment will be provided in this case.

"The treatment's effectiveness will be reviewed after three months.

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