Black Country man's cancer treatment stopped over half way through

A former Wordsley councillor says he's been let down again by health chiefs after being told his potentially life-extending cancer treatment is to stop - two thirds of the way through the course.

Geoff Southall, of Sandringham Road, told last autumn how he felt let down in his hour of need when health service bosses rejected his bid for treatment with new drug Radium 223 even though he'd been deemed fit by his consultant to receive it.

NHS chiefs, however, made a dramatic u-turn after his plight made headlines and gave approval to offer the new drug to the terminally-ill community stalwart who used to help organise Wordsley Carnival. He has since been receiving monthly injections of the nuclear drug and says he's been able to come off his painkillers and suffered "far less side effects" than with previous chemotherapy.

But he claims he was this week given the shock news that he would no longer be able to be treated with the expensive drug at New Cross Hospital.

He said: "I was mortified and considerably distressed to learn my consultant has now been prevented from continuing my treatment at New Cross due to the Specialised Commissioning Team having decided the hospital can no longer operate this treatment.

"It would seem the Queen Elizabeth at Birmingham will be the nearest hospital to administer this drug to patients in a wide catchment area, but there is no guarantee they will accept me or patients generally from New Cross.

"In any event - this would involve longer journeys, more inconvenience and cost, plus additional walking distances, which I may not be able to manage."

He stressed latest blood tests have proven his fitness to continue treatment and said his consultant was in favour of him completing the prescribed course.

He said: "It's absolutely bizarre to stop treatment part of the way through. Not even my consultant can say what effect this will have on the potential overall benefits of the drug."

"Patients living with a terminal condition are having to deal mentally with the problem as well as physically and having to confront additional issues like this is really unacceptable.

"I just can't believe something like this could happen in a civilised society. You tend to think you'd get a better service in the middle of Africa."

But a spokesman for NHS England said: "NHS England supports patients to complete their programme of treatment at recognised centres. We would urge this patient to contact us if they are unhappy with the care received."


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