Helping cancer patients get life-saving treatment

Health and Wellbeing: Helping cancer patients get life-saving treatment

Barbara Clark, a nurse from Somerset, was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment Barbara found out the drug Herceptin would double her chances of survival but that it wasn’t available on the NHS.

Barbara, a mum of three children, decided to challenge the decision of her local NHS Primary Care Trust not to pay for the drug.Relying on the right to life in the Human Rights Act she appealed to the Trust to pay for the potentially life-saving treatment – and threatened to take her case to the courts if they didn’t. They agreed to reverse their decision and fund the treatment. In 2006, after being treated with Herceptin, she was told by doctors she was in remission from breast cancer.

Barbara continued to campaign for Herceptin to be available across the NHS. Following other court cases by women like Ann Marie Rogers (who also relied on human rights law), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published new guidance which means Herceptin is now routinely available to women with breast cancer.

Barbara used human rights to fight for life-saving cancer treatment

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