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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Haemophiliac challenges age policy
Blood bag
Mr Longstaff was infected with HIV in 1985
A haemophiliac, who contracted HIV and Hepatitis C through infected blood, is taking legal action after being refused the latest treatment for his condition.

Peter Longstaff, 45, from Jesmond, in Newcastle, wants doctors to use synthetic techniques that would cut the risk of future infections.

But, at present, Newcastle Primary Care Trust is only providing this to younger patients.

Mr Longstaff - who has also been told he has been exposed to CJD - is seeking a judicial review over the decision.

He wants to have the synthetic, non human blood, which is generally seen as the safest modern technique.

My feeling is that it is perverse to expect haemophiliacs to inject themselves with human plasma
Carol Grayson

A spokesman for the Trust said the High Court had already recognised they face difficult decisions of how to balance clinical judgement with a finite resources.

But Mr Longstaff's lawyers want a hearing before a judge to request permission for a full judicial review.

Carol Grayson, Mr Longstaff's partner, said: "He was infected with HIV in 1985, then he was infected with Hepatitis C, he's got Hepatitis B and he also has been exposed to the blood of two donors who died of vCJD.

"My feeling is that it is perverse to expect haemophiliacs to inject themselves with human plasma."

Haemophilia is a genetic blood condition in which an essential clotting factor is either partly or completely missing.

This means that even the most minor injury can lead to serious bleeding into the joints, muscles and soft tissues.

Virus exposure

It is usually treated by replacing the missing clotting factor through regular injections.

In 1998 the government provided funding to place all haemophilia patients under 16 on synthetic clotting factors and these patients have continued to receive synthetic products as they have grown older.

Earlier this year it was announced that funding was being made available and most adult haemophiliacs would be receiving synthetic products by 2006.

Ms Grayson added: "I think the decision [to supply synthetic plasma to younger people] was made because any haemophiliac under 16 has not been exposed to viruses.

"Basically, what they are saying is, anyone over 16 we are going to write off, we are not going to give this treatment and pay the extra money for it.

"It is the least they could do for all haemophiliacs."

Newcastle Primary Care Trust said they were not able to provide a fuller statement because legal proceedings were already underway.





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SEE ALSO:
Haemophilia treatment hope
08 Jun 02  |  Health


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