Hull’s 3 Labour MPs – Emma Hardy, Diana Johnson and Karl Turner – have today written to the Prime Minister Theresa May to ask her to personally intervene over pain infusion cuts.
Patients in The Spire Hospital in Hull and East Yorkshire found before Christmas that their treatment was to be cut down to once every three months before being cancelled completely in January 2019. They had previously been receiving monthly infusion therapy. Nearly 90 patients are affected by this decision.
Last week, Emma raised the issue with Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions. In the exchange, Emma told the Prime Minister of the heart breaking stories of the constituents who had come to see her – some of whom claimed to be considering suicide – before asking the Prime Minister to personally intervene. She stated that cuts to the NHS were leading Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to have to ration the range of treatments they are providing to patients.
The Prime Minister’s response did not engage with the situation and denied that funding cuts to the NHS have led to the decision by Hull and East Riding CCGs. Diana, Karl and Emma are writing to the Prime Minister to give her a chance to reconsider becoming personally involved. In addition to this, they are pursuing other options such as writing to Hull and East Riding CCGs and NHS England and making representations on behalf of individual constituents to these bodies.
Emma contacted the other Members of Parliament for East Yorkshire to ask them to sign the letter but did not receive a single positive response.
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines have not changed on the drug since funding was granted for these patients to receive pain infusion treatment. In some areas, such as Lincoln, the CCG is actively promoting the use of pain infusion therapy.
Commenting on the letter, Diana said: “We appreciate that the Prime Minister may not have had all the facts available to her when she answered Emma’s question but this is an issue that is too important to too many people living in Hull and East Yorkshire. It’s really important that Theresa May looks again at our request to contact the CCGs and personally intervenes in the issue.”
Karl said: “It’s clear that this decision has been made for financial reasons because of the cost pressure that the NHS has been facing. Diana, Emma and I are really concerned about the real, human effect that these funding decisions are having on the patients who rely on this treatment to let them live a quality life. The Prime Minister must reconsider her answer from last week and intervene personally to make sure that CCGs don’t have to ration treatments like this.”
Emma said: “I recently met with a constituent who has informed me that she was was receiving pain infusions to help her with her 10 spinal fractures, these infusions are giving her the opportunity to enjoy real quality of life and she is so worried about what she will do without them. That’s why we’re calling on the Prime Minister to personally intervene, encourage the CCGs to review their decisions and ensure that these patients receive the treatment they need to live a quality life.”