Cancer patients in postcode lottery

CANCER patients in Suffolk are losing out in a postcode lottery of care, it emerged today.New figures show huge discrepancies in the amount spent on drugs and treatment to fight against the killer disease in different regions of England, with Suffolk ranked in the bottom 15per cent of spenders.

CANCER patients in Suffolk are losing out in a postcode lottery of care, it emerged today.

New figures show huge discrepancies in the amount spent on drugs and treatment to fight against the killer disease in different regions of England, with Suffolk ranked in the bottom 15per cent of spenders.

The county's health chiefs are ranked 23 out of 150 for spending per cancer patient with Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) patients allotted an average of £6,704 a year compared to the national average of £8,437.

Meanwhile in Nottingham City the spending is £17,028, and in Oxfordshire it is £5,182.

A spokesman for Suffolk PCT said: “We have been saying for some time that cancer services are a priority for us.

“Healthcare professionals have worked hard to ensure that cancer patients are being seen faster than ever before and there have been significant improvements in cancer waiting times over the last few years.

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“In addition, there have been advances the standards and delivery of cancer care based on the guidelines set out in the government's NHS Cancer Plan.

“We are committed to making things better for people with cancer and will do all we can with the resources available to us.”

The spending figures come from the Department of Health's 2006/07 records.

They show Suffolk PCT spent £42,114 on cancer services in the year. That equates to 6.1pc of its total expenditure, which is the same as the national average.

N Are you a Suffolk cancer patient? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Postcode lottery victim

Jane Tomlinson who died of breast cancer in September, aged 43, was one famous victim of the postcode lottery for cancer services.

The charity fund-raiser who carried out a series of sponsored endurance challenges was refused Lapa­tinab, a new drug that could have prolonged her life, by the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. The course costs £6,700 a year.

There was a three-month delay before she was eventually accepted for a trial of the drug in Nottingham, during which time her health suffered a severe decline.

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