WALES: We'll Go to Court to Get Cancer Care; MP Backs Sufferers' Battle for Treatment

Article excerpt

Byline: By HYWEL TREWYN

PROSTATE cancer sufferers last night announced plans for a legal challenge to the Assembly's refusal to pay for lifesaving brachytherapy treatment.

The move came as pressure mounted on the government to change its mind.

Cardiff law firm Hugh James is representing cancer patients refused brachytherapy treatment.

And lawyers are urging more to come forward ahead of a judicial review.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK.

Earlier this month Nefyn dad-ofone Edward Grant told the Daily Post the Assemblywas prepared to "let him possibly die" rather than fork out pounds 5,000 for treatment.

Surgeons at Manchester's specialist Christie Hospital wanted to treat Mr Grant with brachytherapy - a nonintrusive treatment which sees radioactive seeds injected inside the prostate.

The treatment is available in much of Scotland and England, but Welsh Assembly health body Health Commission Wales won't pay.

Mr Grant, of Glan y Pwll, Nefyn, wants brachytherapy because it is simple and there are fewer side effects than with radiotherapy and surgery.

Today Plaid Cymru AM Owen John Thomaswill be quizzing first minister Rhodri Morgan on the governments' stance.

Mr Thomas said: "The case for the healthminister to fund this treatment is strong both medically and financially.

"With brachytherapy available to patients in both England and Scotland the minister is becoming increasingly isolated in his reluctance to accept the compelling evidence to support this treatment. …