Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has revised the rules governing the use of new drugs after a patient who battled to get treatment ended up paying thousands of pounds in private healthcare fees.
Michael Gray, who died of bowel cancer in 2008, petitioned the Scottish Parliament when the NHS refused to offer him a drug that stabilised the condition.
NHS Grampian later decided to pay for the treatment, but not before Mr Gray had spent a considerable sum of money in the private sector.
Ms Sturgeon said the new guidance would benefit patients and their families by forcing health authorities to consider the possibility of offering drugs not yet approved by regulator.
She admitted that “navigating the system is not always easy, particularly when patients and their loved ones are dealing with very difficult circumstances”, but reassured interested parties that the new advice was “fair, rigorous and quick”.
The move comes after Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee said health boards needed to be clearer in deciding whether patients should be given drugs which are not usually available on the NHS.
Copyright Press Association 2010