Bromsgrove woman speaks out against postcode lottery

Bromsgrove Advertiser: UNFAIR: Bromsgrove resident Chris Ray says it is unfair she has to pay for MS treatment others nationally are receiving free on the NHS. SP UNFAIR: Bromsgrove resident Chris Ray says it is unfair she has to pay for MS treatment others nationally are receiving free on the NHS. SP

A BROMSGROVE woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis has spoken out against the postcode lottery that forces her to pay for pioneering treatment.

Chris Ray, who lives in Cherry Crescent, has described paying hundreds of pounds for treatment that is free on the NHS elsewhere in the UK as "unfair".

The 54-year-old was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 2010. Her walking is severely affected, and her nurse and physiotherapist agreed she should be put forward for the pioneering treatment Fampyra.

Chris was given a month's worth of free treatment and she quickly saw huge benefits, improving her walking speed and mobility.

But when she was given a repeat prescription she was told she would have to pay for it herself, with the treatment costing £182 per month.

Chris said: “This treatment has given me my life back – it’s made a huge difference to my walking.

"I work 16 hours a week and can’t afford the treatment on my own so I’m fundraising to help pay for it.”

Chris works at the Tan and Tone in Bromsgrove town centre and she said generous customers gave her money towards her fundraising fund, helping to pay for the treatment.

"There are kind people - but it is expensive and my funds are now low," she said.

"If I was not receiving the treatment, I wouldn't be able to work.

"It just is not fair other people elsewhere have it paid for on the NHS. I just need it funded."

Chris is supporting the new Treat Me Right campaign, launched by the MS Society on Monday, (April 28).

The society is calling for all licensed MS treatment options to be made available on the NHS to everyone who needs them.

Michelle Mitchell, the MS Society's chief executive, said: “For too long people with MS have faced significant barriers in accessing the treatments they need.

“Effective medicines are out there – like Fampyra – that could dramatically change the landscape of treatment for people with MS, but the years of research that led to their development will count for nothing if people can’t get hold of them on the NHS.

“We understand the pressures the NHS is facing, but there are licensed medicines that can transform lives and it’s shameful they are out of reach for so many.”

A spokesman for NHS England in the West Midlands said: "Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, NHS England has a policy not to routinely fund Fampyra as a treatment to assist walking in adults who have MS.

"However, there may be some people across the country that received approval from their local primary care trust, prior to the health system reforms on April 1, 2013, who still receive this treatment as part of their continuity of care.”

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