NHS Cancer Drugs refused – NHS Homeopathy gets a Yes !?!**

Julia Black on behalf of the Kidney Cancer Suport Network, put up a Number 10 Downing Street Petition about the N I C E refusal to fund  cancer drugs: it was cut off in it’s prime when the new Coalition Government stopped all petitions and signing  while they thought about it !! But in the 6 weeks it was up on the site  we got  nearly 2000 signatures, which was pretty good in 6 weeks….anyway we have  just had the answer to Julia’s petition , you can read the response to that here…..
While I was looking at the site to see if the Coalition Gov. are going to continue to  “allow” it’s citizens to petition their Government on issues they feel strongly about, I noticed that a Dr was asking the DOH to force N I C E to appraise Homeopathy, presumably  to find out whether it is cost effective  to use millions of pounds of NHS money on Homeopathy  while they  refuse to fund clinically effective cancer drugs… the Government answer is here… I find this just incomprehensible – they should appraise the  clinical evidence    but to refuse to do that even , well honestly it makes you weep …..
Stay warm……
Rose   Woodward 

Posted under Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, N.I.C.E., Rose Woodward, Social Medicine

This post was written by Rose Woodward on December 6, 2010

N.I.C.E. To be stripped of its powers

Today has seen the long awaited decision to strip N.I.C.E. of its powers that enabled it to ban the use of much needed drugs. For the Kidney Cancer community this can’t come soon enough. For years now we’ve been fighting for our rights for new cancer drugs and treatments, for many this decision has come too late but nevertheless we’re grateful that common sense and decency have prevailed.

I have my concerns though.  Yes I’m delighted that this quango has had this controversial powers removed and it’s been downgraded to an organisation that will help write guidelines, but what does this really mean?

N.I.C.E. was only ever supposed to be group that offered guidance anyway, and why is it going to take until 2014 to action this? Surely that should be instant.

Also, are we moving into an even more ill defined postcode lottery? Who will really decide what drugs are going to be made available to you as a patient? The doctors, PCTs, some “to be defined” local committee? I’ve seen little clarity on this as yet and I worry that we could be entering into an even worse era.

It’s great to see N.I.C.E stripped like this, but let’s not take our eye off the ball. I’m going to the house of commons on Wednesday this week and I’ll be interested to hear other people’s views on this. I’ll report back.

Posted under Andy Thomas, N.I.C.E.

This post was written by AndyThomas on November 1, 2010

Article Cancer Drugs Fund to get £200m a year

Rose Woodward – Patient Advocate

At long last…… confirmation that the

Cancer Drugs Fund to get £200m a year  

There was good news for cancer patients in England this week after the government confirmed it will provide £600 million for a three-year fund to improve access to new cancer drugs on the National Health Service.

There had been fears that the pot may be reduced under the current spurt of cost cuts, but the Department of Health announced yesterday that £200 million a year will be made available for the Cancer Drugs Fund from 2011 to 2013. 

The move is designed to help patients get better access to therapies recommended by their specialists, even if they have not been approved by cost regulator the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, giving clinicians yet more power to dish out the treatments they feel are the most appropriate.

In addition, it is hoped that the extra cash pile – which is separate from existing Primary Care Trust budgets – will also help to improve the country’s ranking in terms of the provision of innovative cancer treatment to patients, as it is low on the list compared with many of its global peers.

Just a few weeks ago the government said it is has also set aside £50 million for an interim fund to help patients get treatment with drugs that have the potential to extend survival or improve quality of life before the fund ‘proper’ is launched next year, with clinically-led panels deciding on how to spend this money for patients locally.

The move does not take away from NICE’s remit, as the Institute will continue to appraise most significant new drugs and will have an important part to play in the government’s plans to switch to a system of value-based pricing for new medicines when the current Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme expires, it said.

“Our longer-term plans will change the way we pay for drugs so that patients get better access to drugs and the NHS and the taxpayer get better value for money,” commented health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Consultation launched

The DH has now kicked off a consultation over its plans, seeking public opinion on the arrangements and other proposals for the fund’s operation, including ways in which patients and clinicians can be supported to make the best treatment decisions and what the scope of the Fund should be.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has welcomed the launch of the public consultation and the government’s commitment of £200 million a year to help boost patient access to innovative cancer treatments.

Director-General Richard Barker said the consultation raises many important questions about how the fund will operate, such as “whether the fund should be administered at regional or national level and how to ensure that NHS cancer patients across England have a fair, timely and equal opportunity to benefit from the fund”.

The consultation will run until January 19, 2011.Its really important that as many cancer patients and families complete the consultation document and let the NHS know how we feel and to stress the need for this Cancer Drugs Fund to be continued for as long as some people in the NHS wish to refuse treatment to cancer patients.

 Please contact me if you would like a consultation document sent to you by email..


or download it from our patient forum at     www.kidneycancersupportnetwork.co.uk

Rose Woodward

Posted under Afinitor(aka Everolimus/RAD001), Avastin, Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, General, N.I.C.E., Nexavar, Patient Day 17thNov2010, Rose Woodward, Social Medicine, Torisel

This post was written by Rose Woodward on October 28, 2010

Who will notice another life ending? –


Rose Woodward – www.kidneycancersupportnetwork.co.uk

Last night in Scarborough Fred Binch died. Fred was a kidney cancer patient who was denied treatment by his Primary Care Trust. Fred’s Oncologist wanted to treat him him with a new and effective  drug called Everolimus.  Fred had responded well to previous treatments and his Dr’s  thought he would do so again if he was given the opportunity. But somebody sitting behind a desk in a PCT Office miles from the Hospital deciided they knew better than the  Oncologists and the MDT and they had a meeting and condemned Fred to a premature death all to save £100.00 per week. The difference between the cost of the treatment Fred had been taking and the new treatment they wanted to prescribe for him.

Imagine the last few weeks of your life knowing that a  Group of people have decided you cannot have the treatment  your Dr’s say you need. Someone like Fred didn’t have a cats chance in hell of being able to pay for the drug he needed. yet with  dignity  he just kept on fighting as his  disease  robbed him of his speech and his very life’s breath as a tumour continued to grow  putting pressure on his windpipe.  Cruel beyond understanding. This was  a man  who had worked hard all his life, married his childhood sweetheart, raised a family – lived a “good life”.

He was let down by the very people charged with looking after him. Do they care – do they even know? Fred was just another nameless, faceless statistic. A kidney cancer patient who had the audacity to ask to be  treated.

To me he was a quiet hero.  At peace now.

Rose  x

Posted under Afinitor(aka Everolimus/RAD001), Cancer Drugs, N.I.C.E., Rose Woodward, Social Medicine

This post was written by Rose Woodward on September 1, 2010

Here we go Again – the Postcode Lottery

If you are in the nightmare situation of having to fight to get treatment for Kidney cancer – please don’t think you have to do this on your own – we can help you and we will . We have many friends who are themselves patients and carers and family members who can talk with you and hold your hand to help you get through the appalling situation you find yourself in.

If your Oncologist wishes to prescribe treatment for your Kidney Cancer and yet your Local Health Authority ( England – Primary Care Trust -PCT or Wales and Scotland a Local Health Board – LHB ) refuses to provide funding then please email Rose and Julia at contact@kidneycancersupportnetwork.co.uk; we can provide expert advice, individual letters and contacts to lead you through the process and help you understand the policies and how you can challenge the system to make sure you have the best chance possible to get access to the best available treatments.

Julia and Rose have been helping cancer patients in 100′s of PCT’s to get access to proven and effective kidney cancer treatments for nearly 4 long years, sadly here we are 4 years down the line and the NHS are still refusing to provide active cancer treatment to desperately ill kidney cancer patients – we are fighting exactly the same battles now as 4 years ago.

In this day and age it is scandalous that patients not only have to fight their diagnosis of cancer, but they have to use vital time and energy battling with the very organisations that are meant to care for us. We are passionate believers in the NHS and universal care but how can we stand by and let administrators and managers decide who to treat and who not to treat. The decision whether and how to treat patients MUST be made by Oncoligists/Clinicians in Hospitals and not adminstrators sitting behind desks in PCT Offices. We cannot turn our back on our fellow cancer patients and watch them and their families suffer because “the system” will not allow new and innovative, clinically effective treatments to be prescribed to NHS patients.

We are not running a  business, we don’t even have a bank account and we certainly  don’t take money from the Pharmacuetical companies who make the drugs patients need. We are able to do it because we are helped by the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer Charity. All over the UK  patients and families donate money, leave legacies and run marathons, hold coffee mornings, curry parties , cycle on fundraisers   to make sure this vital  help is always there for the next person who needs it.  But Julia and I  also do it because we have to;  because  as cancer patients ourselves, we understand  what facing an uncertain future means  and the last thing on your mind should be whether your Doctor will be “allowed ” to prescribe you the treatment  you need in order to keep you alive.

NHS Constitution…….1st paragraph…….The NHS belongs to the people.
It is there to improve our health and well-being, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most.

Posted under Arch To Arc 2010, Britain's Biggest Curry Party, Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, Fund Raising, N.I.C.E., Rose Woodward, Uncategorized

This post was written by Rose Woodward on April 30, 2010

Open letter to Ben Goldacre and Guardian Readers ….

This in response to Ben Goldacre’s misleading article in todays Guardian Newspaper  - really disappointed that the writer of such a brilliant book -  BAD SCIENCE – falls into the same trap as he  tries to warn us about in his book – he would do well to reread certain chapters and then take a long hard look at what he has written. His obvious personal  political opinions should come second to evidence – or has he changed his mind?

Dear Ben,

Your article in The Guardian today Saturday 24th April  is  “Bad Research”

It’s pretty obvious  being misled & failing to check the facts doesn’t only apply to the readers of your brilliant book Ben, it is something you have fallen foul of here.

Had you checked your facts about the history of Kidney Cancer Patients battle to get just one treatment option funded by our NHS, you would have noted kidney cancer patients met with David Cameron in August 2008 before N I C E did a U turn and approved Sunitinib, a clinically effective and innovative cancer treatment it had previously turned down on cost.

Now of course N I C E are meant to appraise end of life drugs for terminally ill, rarer cancer patients differently thanks to our campaign. The arbitrary (unchanged 9 year old) figure of £30,000 is no longer used to determine whether or not we offer active end of life treatments( and compassion) to patients facing a terminal diagnosis of cancer.

You would have found out that our patient group recently asked to meet with Andy Burnham and Ann Keen; both requests were turned down.

You would have checked your facts and found out the invoice cost of Sunitinib ? It is an oral tablet form of targeted cancer treatment ; without in- patient, nursing or community costs – the invoice cost to the NHS is £26,000 pa- only N I C E with it’s smoke and mirror tricks could turn that into a scare mongering £55,000.

If you want the evidence Ben it is readily available … ask the leading NHS Oncologists and the many patients around the world still on the drug after 3/4/and even 5 years. Many continuing to work and support their families. We could do with your help to convince the bean counters to help keep us alive Ben, not cause us more distress then we are currently under trying to deal with a diagnosis of a serious cancer and being forced to fight for some sort of active treatment at the same time..

I hope many of you commenting on this post never find yourselves in the position of being denied vital treatment readily available in other social welfare systems around the world but not here in the UK. I am a passionate advocate of our NHS . But it is sufering from it’s own illness; incurable bureaucracy . Let our Clinicians do their job- caring & treating patients, helped , not dicated to, by administrators and statisticians

Posted under Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, N.I.C.E., Oxford Support Group Demonstration 27-Aug-08, Rose Woodward, Sutent, Uncategorized

This post was written by Rose Woodward on April 24, 2010

Press release issued about the Cancer Drugs Fund

Rose Woodward, herself a survivor of kidney cancer and Patient Advocate for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer said “On behalf of the James Whale Fund for kidney Cancer and my fellow kidney cancer patients, we welcome the news today that Conservative Party will set up a Fund to enable patients suffering from rarer cancers to get the cancer drugs they desperately need.

Over the past 4 years, on behalf of terminally cancer patients from all over the Country, we have been pleading in front of jury’s of PCT administrators to allow  patients to have  proven, innovative cancer drugs that  Clinicians want to prescribe. By anyone’s standards it is  cruel and callous to refuse to treat vulnerable patients who  are already having to cope with a diagnosis of a serious cancer.

At the James Whale Fund we are passionate believers in the NHS and universal care. We welcome the day when it is the Doctor who will decide what drugs he will prescribe for his patient not an administrator sitting behind a desk far away from the Hospital.

N I C E (National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence) denies drugs on the basis of cost, but Oncologists want to prescribe drugs on the basis of clinical effectiveness and the needs of their patients.

Cancer patients need to know the NHS will be there for them when they most need it and at the moment they are being let down.  The NHS must stop saying to cancer patients “You are too expensive for us to keep you alive.”

Rose Woodward.

Patient Advocate for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer & Founder of the Kidney Cancer Support Network

Posted under Afinitor(aka Everolimus/RAD001), Campaigns, N.I.C.E., Rose Woodward, User Posts

This post was written by Rose Woodward on April 6, 2010


Patient Advocacy

Well  this is how I explain  what it means to use the title a ” Patient Advocate” To me it   means putting the interests of  Kidney Cancer patients first and foremost and having the experience and knowledge to be able do that.

Julia Black and I have been advocating for rights for Kidney Cancer  patients, since way back when. It was in  2006  that we started this battle and sadly it is still going on today. Only the drugs have changed as more advances are made in our treatment options - but we are still thwarted  by the NHS and N I C E  who will not allow cancer patients to have these drugs funded by our  NHS.

Julia was one of the first cancer patients to fight the battle for the right to access to clinically effective drugs and to challenge rationing of cancer drugs by N I C E, who  stopped cancer patients getting the drugs their Clinicians wanted to prescribe.  It’s a long story and one which needs to be told, all the different patients and families ; the tragedies and the triumphs. Families who then joined in to try and help Mums and Dads and brothers and sisters, Julia and I have files full of letters and emails  and some long  hard fought battles took over 500 letters and months to fight. It was a terrible time and a disgraceful episode in the history of the NHS BUT STILL OUR FIGHT  GOES ON.

Julia was in the brave group of breast cancer patients  who fought, not only to get the drug she and other desperately needed (Herceptin) but  then  had to fight the funding bodies and regulatory bodies  like N I C E to get the drug approved for others .

I met when  Julia  was trying to help a Kidney Cancer Patient friend  called Keith Ditchfield who was trying to get funding for the drug Nexavar. Julia’s knowledge and contacts were working for Keith and through Julia’s efforts Keith was finally funded to have Nexavar paid for by the NHS – one of the first in the Country if not the first. We thought we could take Julia’s methods and my knowledge of the Cancer Networks and PCT commissioning processes  and make it work for the many other Kidney Cancer patients who needed the new innovative  drugs that were being used all over the world to treat Kidney Cancer except here in the UK.

I will continue the tale of what happened as when I have the time, but in the past 3 weeks mine and Julia’s time in increasingly  taken up now with a new tranche of kidney cancer patients who are now being denied Everolimus ( AFINITOR) a new drug manufactured by Novartis.

But please don’t just soldier on alone, do remember there is help here at the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer  www.jameswhalefund.or and the Kidney cancer Support Network  www.kidneycancersupportnetwork.co.uk  -  we are here to help each other.  Julia and I  are cancer patients ourselves, we know what this is like and we are doing this for no other reason than we believe cancer patients have a right to proven licensed clinically effective drugs. Please don’t  go on feeling you are on your own with no-one to help you.  Don’t feel you need to pay out for professional advice -  knowledge is power is this situation and we  can unlock that knowledge  for you to help you get the drugs you need. Our methods are used all over the Country by other  bona fide cancer charities who are trying to help their patients access treatments. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – we are  a community  of Kidney Cancer Patients and we need to look after each other. Which is what we  do here  at the JWF and the KCSN – come and join us and together we  will campaign for kidney cancer patients to have  NHS  treatment  “the right treatment at the right time” !!!

Posted under Afinitor(aka Everolimus/RAD001), Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, General, N.I.C.E., Rose Woodward, User Posts

This post was written by Rose Woodward on March 28, 2010

New International Kidney Cancer Coalition


For a long time now several of us who are trying to raise the profile and knowledge of Kidney Cancer have been talking together and swopping our trials and tribulations. Well, last year a few of us got together to try and get equity in treatment options, drugs and strength in numbers  to help argue our case with regulators and manufacturers – we want to improve the availability of clinical trials, get consistent information across Country borders and be able to support each other when we are looking at new KC research, treatment, funding etc.

so…… this letter is from those of us who have put together a steering group to make this dream of a stronger and united coalition into reality; The International Kidney Cancer Coalition.

Please let me know what you think of the idea, we now have several other patient groups in different Countries who have joined us. We have extended invitations to all the Kidney Cancer Organisations  to join us and make our voice louder and stronger….

IKCC – An Open Letter to the Kidney cancer Community  - click to veiw the actual letter in this  PDF  file or scroll down for   simple text version.

An Open Letter to the Kidney Cancer Community

Bad Nauheim, Germany, the 8th of March 2010

Dear Patients, Caregivers, Patient Group Leaders, Medical Experts, and Industry Sponsors:

This open letter is about the beginnings of IKCC, an international network of kidney cancer patient groups, along with background information about funding of this initiative.

What are the objectives of IKCC?
IKCC stands for International Kidney Cancer Coalition. It will be a network of independent kidney cancer patient support groups from around the world. The organization was born from a strong desire among various national patient groups to network, cooperate, and share experiences.

IKCC will be a supplement to existing organizations, and we hope to future ones as awareness of kidney cancer grows around the world. Our aim is to network efficiently, to share information, to develop and promote best practices in patient support and patient advocacy, and to meet unmet needs expressed by the various groups. All kidney cancer groups are welcome, as are individuals interested in starting advocacy and support groups in their own countries.

Why an international coalition?
Experience with other rare cancers proves this type of international network is valuable, supportive and inspiring. Most cancer associations, especially for rare cancers, have limited resources. It makes absolute sense to share information, to cooperate, and to work on similar projects together. Some examples of successful international coalitions:
• International Lymphoma Coalition – a worldwide network of lymphoma groups
• International Brain Tumour Alliance – an international brain tumour advocacy group
• Myeloma Euronet – European network of 42 groups from 20 countries
• Sarcoma Patients EuroNet Association – European coalition of 17 groups from 13 countries

The preliminary mission of IKCC is, “Networking, collaborating, and advocating on a global level to better support patients in each nation.” We believe that together we will be able to speak as one voice to expert panels and to the industry on behalf of many kidney cancer patient support groups.

How will IKCC be funded?
IKCC’s funding policy is based on the well-known “Code of Practice Between Patients’ Organisations and the Healthcare Industry” of ECPC, the European Cancer Patient Coalition. ECPC is a well-established organization comprising over 300 European national and international cancer patient organizations that have adopted the code of practice. IKCC already adheres to this code. After registration as a legal entity, IKCC will be a member of ECPC. In the meantime, each organization involved in IKCC is governed by the rules of transparency and ethical relations within their own country.

Our first conference – May 14-16, 2010:
The main objectives of the conference in Frankfurt are to learn more from each patient organization and to evaluate the future objectives and role of IKCC.

All the work for the conference has been done on a voluntary basis alongside our regular work for our national organizations. To cover costs for a global conference, we asked various pharmaceutical companies to support this international project with unrestricted educational grants. We are pleased to have their support. When agreements are finalized, we will publicly announce all sponsors in accordance with the ethical demands of full transparency in funding.

In conclusion:
IKCC will be a friendly, positive, welcoming organization centering on a common cause: Every day we see patients dying from kidney cancer. We would like to do all we can to achieve the best support, care, and treatment for kidney cancer patients and their families everywhere in the world.

With best regards on behalf of the IKCC Steering Committee:
Dr. Marion Beier (DE), author
Markus Wartenberg (DE), author
Other members:
Tony Clark (CDN)
Vandana Gupta (IND)
Deborah Maskens (CDN)
Andrew Wilson (UK)
Rose Woodward (UK)

Association: IKCC Registration pending.
Phone: +49-6032-9492-439

Posted under Campaigns, Cancer Drugs, General, Rose Woodward

This post was written by Rose Woodward on March 9, 2010

My letter to N.I.C.E. with regard to the Afinitor decision.

Let’s see if this has any impact.  I’ve cc’d my local MP and prospective MP and Sir Andrew Dillon as it usually forces them to reply and aknolwledge

Dear Professor Littlejohns,
I am writing to you directly as a Kidney Cancer patient in regard to your decision to deny Afinitor as a second line treatment.
Why if N.I.C.E. openly admit that this drug shows clear clinical benefit do you not seek to approve it?
As you are well aware there are very few treatments available to Kidney Cancer patients in the UK and as such when one comes along it seems only fair to approve it.
You seem (as usual) to have based this negative decision purely on cost.  The QALY calculation you use for some reason is not disclosed to the public due to  IPR which appears ludicrous given this is a public service.  I think it would be fair and proper to make your process transparent and available to the public at large as these are the people you work for.
As a supposed independent body I would expect N.I.C.E. to act as such and not just follow the direction of the Department of Health.  I expect N.I.C.E. to work in the interest of the patient NOT in the interest of government policy.
What real representation did you have from patients?  How much weight was attached to patients as you came to your conclusions?
It is also extremely unfair to only give the public (patients) a few weeks to put their case together.
Why are we given such little time?  If you want a response from patients then they need to be engaged at an earlier stage.  It is outrageous that we only have to the 2nd March to put a case together.
These drugs offer precious time to patients and families.  We are not talking weeks we are talking significant numbers of months and years (as you are well aware).  What cost do you attach to this?
I would also like to add that as a rarer cancer we are not looking at a significant number of patients that need these type of drugs so why do you attach so much weight to cost when we are talking 100’s rather than 1000’s of people?  At £100/day this is not a significant cost.
Kidney Cancer is not a large drain on NHS resources in comparison to other cancers,  so why are we treated in an inferior fashion?  Is it because we are small minority that can’t fight back?
All we ask for is a level playing field, this is clearly not the case and I would expect you to be addressing this in the interest of the patient NOT in the interest of the people who pay your salaries.
I was also shocked that Ann Keen chose to announce that she was spending money on a new design of hospital gowns the day you announce that you will not approve Afinitor as a second line treatment, this was heartless and cruel.  Disgraceful that we seem able to waste money and resources on items such as these and yet deny patients vital drugs that can give them a real quality of life.
Clearly there are hundreds of other examples within the NHS where resources are being wasted (not least of which is the NPfIT) but there is little point in documenting them each in detail in this letter as you are well aware of it yourself.
I urge you not to respond by saying that you are not responsible for any spend within the NHS or for government policy, rather I would like to hear how you will engage with the government (DoH) on how we can stop this waste. I’d also like to hear how you will start to engage with patients at a real level.  The NHS is a wonderful resource and it is sad to see it being destroyed by bureaucracy in this way.
Please realise that N.I.C.E. is meant to be an independent body working in the interest of the patient and as such we expect you to behave as such not to just throw cost in our faces each time a new drug is presented that offers valuable time and quality of life to people.
I respectfully ask that you reverse your cruel decision and allow Afinitor as a second line treatment for Kidney Cancer patients.  I also respectfully ask that you review what is clearly a floored approval process.
Yours Sincerely
Andy Thomas
97 Sheepcot Lane
WD25 0DU
cc Sir Andrew Dillon
cc Claire Ward MP
cc Richard Harrington
The more of us who do this, the more we can keep it in the public eye. The meeting at the House of Lords last week went very well and Rose has secured a meeting with Ann keen to discuss this further.  This is a great step forward!

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving or JustGiving

Posted under Afinitor(aka Everolimus/RAD001), Andy Thomas, N.I.C.E.

This post was written by AndyThomas on February 27, 2010