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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 07:30 GMT
Kidney cancer man's drugs fight
Jocelyn Hall
Jocelyn Hall was diagnosed with kidney cancer in September 2006.
A man with kidney cancer says he has been refused a drug that could save his life and is still waiting for treatment 18 months after being diagnosed.

Jocelyn Hall, 60, of Tonna, Neath, is taking his local health board (LHB) to judicial review after it refused to pay for him to have the drug, Sunitinib.

He claims his case is exceptional and he should be given the new therapy, which is also called Sutent.

Neath Port Talbot LHB said each case for the drug was reviewed individually.

Mr Hall was diagnosed with kidney cancer in September 2006, a fortnight after he gave his notice so he could retire after working in Neath's Metal Box can factory for 44 years.

After he worked 44 years of his life, he wants to enjoy his retirement
Rosemarie Snow, sister

Surgeons were unable to operate because his tumour had spread to other organs.

Mr Hall's oncologist at Swansea's Singleton Hospital, Professor John Wagstaff, said the drug treatment he wanted his patient to have cost 2,300 every six weeks.

He said: "I've got a number of patients in exactly the same situation, not just with Neath Port Talbot but with other LHBs in south west Wales.

"It's a continuing battle. If he does not get this drug, the only management available to him is to control his symptoms."

Mr Hall's sister, Rosemarie Snow, said: "He has worked all his life and paid into cancer research all his life and he's got nothing.

"The drugs won't cure him but they will help prolong his life. After he worked 44 years of his life, he wants to enjoy his retirement.

Kate Spall
He has not treatment for nearly two years for terminal cancer... that is just unheard of
Kate Spall, patient advocate

"When we first started getting 'noes' from the LHB, we were thinking of giving up, but we just can't."

She said she had written to numerous politicians for help and had received a reply from the Prince of Wales, who promised that if he found out anything that could help, he would respond to her.

Kate Spall, who has become a patient advocate [to support patients] since her mother died from a rare kidney cancer, said Mr Hall was the "most exceptional" of the more than 40 cases she had advised.

She said: "He has not treatment for nearly two years for terminal cancer. That is just unheard of.

"In Wales today, somebody has not had had one piece of active treatment. That's Third World. That's unbelievable."

A spokeswoman for Neath Port Talbot LHB said she could not comment on individual cases because of confidentiality.

But she said that the local health board took guidance from the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, which said the use of Sumitinib should not be supported in Wales.

"Our policy allows us to consider information from an individual that makes them an exception to that broad statement," she said.

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