‘I am not ready to die’ - Terminally ill nurse describes agonising wait for decision over drug that could keep her alive
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A terminally ill end-of-life nurse today sends a heartfelt plea to the region as she faces dying unless health chiefs approve a drug that could keep her alive.
Jane Ringwood, 65, of Uplands Way, Halesworth, has spent her career looking after patients – but is now among an estimated 1,000 people whose fate lies in the hands of senior decision-makers.
The mother and grandmother, who married Oliver Ringwood in the summer, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (a form of lung cancer) in February 2015.
She has been told the drug Nivolumab gives her the best chance of staying alive for as long as possible.
But the drug, which is available to patients on the NHS in Scotland, may not be approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales because the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said it was not cost-effective.
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A decision on whether or not the drug will be approved for NHS use is expected later this year, and Mrs Ringwood is determined to lobby for approval.
'I am going to fight for my life,' she vowed.
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'I am not ready to die.'
A petition calling for the drug to be approved, set up by another affected family in the country, has been signed by more than 150,000 people.
Mrs Ringwood plans to join other campaigners in London next month to deliver the petition to Parliament.
There are an estimated 1,000 people in England and Wales who could benefit from Nivolumab, which Nice admits is 'clinically effective'.
The drug's manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb, say it could potentially extend people's lives.
'At the moment I'm on a precipice,' said Mrs Ringwood, who spent her career in nursing.
'I looked after patients with cancer and never thought this would happen to me.
'To have to fight for treatment is awful.
'The fact that the drug is available to patients like me in Scotland just seems silly.
'We need as many people as possible to sign the petition.
'Even if the drug comes too late for me hopefully other patients and families won't be placed in this awful situation.'
A spokesman for Bristol-Myers Squibb said the company was working with Nice, NHS England, and the Department of Health to make the drug available for patients living in England and Wales.
To sign the petition visit www.change.org and search for Nivolumab.
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