Patients left seeing ‘no point in living’ after CCGs cut chronic pain treatment

MP for Hull West and Hessle Emma Hardy
MP for Hull West and Hessle Emma Hardy
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THE Prime Minister has been urged to personally intervene to help dozens of patients in the East Riding who have been told their treatment for chronic pain will be withdrawn over the next 12 months.

Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, called on Theresa May to ensure CCGs in Hull and the East Riding reconsider the decision. Currently 86 patients receive intravenous infusion therapy of Lidocaine or Phenytoin at the Spire Hospital in Anlaby. But they were told shortly before Christmas there was a lack of clinical evidence base to support its continued use.

Ms Hardy said it had nothing to do with guidelines and “everything to do with the NHS having to ration treatment because of cuts.”

And she said patients had told her the decison made them feel there was “no point in continuing to live.” However at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mrs May said CCGs were making their own decisions about how to apportion funding, adding: “To suggest we are cutting funding to the NHS is plain wrong.”

Vic Hallett, from West Hull, said the infusion of Lidocaine was the only thing which stopped the constant “gnawing pain like toothache” in his lower back and legs which he has had for over a decade. His once every four week infusion is now being cut to once every three months. Mr Hallett said his consultant was baffled as to why the treatment was being cut, and fears without it his “quality of life will get even worse.”

In a statement the CCGs said that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence had never recommended the therapy for chronic pain. They were aware some patients had been having the treatment for some time and would review each one to come up with a long-term plan. Until then for the majority, the infusions will continue once every 12 weeks until the end of January 2019, or until an alternative is agreed.