A BREAST cancer patient says she is “over the moon” after health bosses made a U-turn and agreed to fund a double mastectomy operation for her.
York mother-of-two Zoe Bounds, 36, who also suffered from ovarian cancer in her teens, hopes the surgery will help prevent cancer striking a third time later in life and allow her to see her children grow up.
She was originally told the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group would only fund the removal of her cancerous breast alone because genetic testing had not picked up a gene indicating she had a predisposition to suffer breast cancer.
But Dr Mark Hayes, the group’s chief clinical officer, said yesterday that after a careful review of clinical information and case evidence, it had now provided funds for the procedure.
He also said Zoe’s case had highlighted a funding issue arising from last year’s NHS reorganisation, whereby cancer treatment was the remit of NHS England and prevention was the responsibility of the CCG, and her surgery required the approval of both commissioners before it could go ahead.
“This situation is unusual and not something that the CCG or NHS England have come across since their formation in April 2013,” he said.
“As a result of this, the CCG is seeking to hold tripartite discussions with the local Strategic Cancer Network, York District Hospitals Foundation Trust and the CCG in order to formulate guidelines that will ensure no other patient is subject to this in the future.”
York Central MP Hugh Bayley, who has been backing Zoe’s battle for funding, wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last night to ask him to examine the “unintended consequences” of the Government reforms.
Mr Bayley also said he still suspected that the original refusal to provide funding was linked to continued underfunding of the Vale CCG and the NHS postcode lottery, which he wanted to outlaw through new legislation in the spring.
Zoe, of Garfield Terrace, Leeman Road, who has a son Luc, ten, and a daughter Willow, six, as well as two step-children, and was due to undergo her first operation at York Hospital yesterday, said she was absolutely delighted by the decision.
“I’m over the moon,” she said However, she said she failed to see how such a situation had never arisen before, considering the number of women who were treated for breast cancer each year.
“I also have not heard of this situation arising within the community of 600 + women with breast cancer I am in contact with across the country,” she said.
“This has proved to me that the fight is always worth it.
“The system is not always perfect and mistakes can be made.”