Bowel disease sufferers blast red tape

SUFFOLK sufferers of painful bowel diseases are joining others across the country to campaign for free prescriptions.Those who have Colitis or Crohn's disease are finding that they are on many different medicines at a time and maybe even having to change prescriptions several times a month.

SUFFOLK sufferers of painful bowel diseases are joining others across the country to campaign for free prescriptions.

Those who have Colitis or Crohn's disease are finding that they are on many different medicines at a time and maybe even having to change prescriptions several times a month.

Sue Brixey, who is secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's disease said that some sufferers are paying nearly £200 a year for prescriptions.

Ms Brixey counts herself as one of the lucky ones. Although she does suffer from the extremely painful Crohn's disease, she has a stoma, which means she has had part of her small intestine removed and therefore is exempt from paying for medication.


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However she knows that although there are many people who are struggling to afford the costs of regular prescriptions, they have no choice but to pay.

Ms Brixey from Ipswich said: "You really have to have the treatment because you feel so bad.

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"When you are first diagnosed with it you have to try so many different tablets that you can have several different prescriptions within a month."

She said there are certain conditions that already have free prescriptions such as ones for Thyroid problems.

Ms Brixey was badly affected by Crohn's disease as a teenager – it turned her life upside down and for ten years she could not work or leave the house.

According to the NACC, people with Crohn's or colitis can often find it difficult sustaining full-time or better paid jobs.

Therefore they are often on a tight family budget and finding the cost for their medicines is an added pressure.

Miss Brixey said: "It should be free.

"It is an incurable disease and is a lifelong condition.

"It is something that can always be with you and can flare up at any time.

"People should not be penalised for that."

The NACC is now going to be lobbying Government for the free prescriptions.

Although a pre-pay certificate is available that can help with costs, Richard Driscoll, director of the NACC claims that some people cannot afford to pay upfront.

He said: "We are concerned that some people may be taking less than optimal levels of medication required to control their IBD and may be putting their health at further risk simply through not being able to afford the expensive prescription charges."

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or have your say on the Evening Star forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

FACTFILE:

What is Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease?

Life-long potentially life-threatening diseases that are often first diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.

Sometimes known as IBD around 150,000 people are year are affected in the UK with more than 8,000 new diagnosed every year.

Symptoms – parts of the small and large intestines become inflamed, swollen and ulcerated.

The most common symptoms are persistent, non-infectious, painful, bloody diarrhoea, unexplained weightloss and continual exhaustion.

Most people have periods when the conditions flare up and other times it is in remission.

For some people the condition can lead to repeated admissions to hospital and major surgery.

Information source – NACC.

WEBLINK: www.nacc.org.uk

n. NACC can be contacted on Daytime Information Line 0845 1302233 or Evening Support Line on 0845 130 3344

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