Well-wishers have raised thousands in aid of vital treatment for a cancer patient who was told to pay £1,400 for chemotherapy in Leeds or go elsewhere.
We revealed that Dominic Horsley, from Woodlesford, was asked to pay for the life-extending course of Docetaxel chemo by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) last month – despite being recommended it by a senior consultant.
Since then the 41-year-old’s parents have forked out for the treatment but supporters have set up a crowdfunding page, which has raised more than £2,100 so far, in a bid to reimburse them.
Meanwhile his mother Dee Horsley is probing LTH for answers over why his advanced prostate cancer diagnosis took so long, why there is a “postcode lottery” in Docetaxel funding and what is being done to ensure any mistakes are not repeated. She has also sent letters of complaint direct to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister David Cameron over the issues.
So far 74 people have donated to the crowdfunding page, which was created by his friend Helen Monnelly. She said it will help “an amazing, fun-loving person”.
Dominic, who is having his second dose of chemo this week, said: “It’s amazing really, I’ve had calls from people doing collections and stuff – it’s quite warming to read everybody’s comments.
“Helen said to me she just wanted to do something to help, it’s just amazing and makes you feel loved. Anything over the amount we are giving to prostate cancer research charities.”
In September an MRI scan revealed Dominic had a grade nine tumour that has spread to his right leg and pelvis – five months after going to specialists at St James’s Hospital with symptoms.
Despite his father having the disease in his 60s, Dominic claims he was told he was “too young” to have prostate cancer and had been misdiagnosed with an infection since May.
Dominic explained that it is important younger men with symptoms push doctors to ensure they are given scans. He added: “We want people to be able to go to Leeds if it’s proven it [Docetaxel] can extend somebody’s life with advanced prostate cancer. Why can’t you get it? And £1,400 is a lot of money to some people.”
A Leeds consultant recommended Docetaxel but after arriving for his first dose last month he was told he faced a £1,400 bill or could have the treatment free in Huddersfield or Manchester despite the risk of him becoming unwell due to its side effects.
LTH earlier apologised and claimed the funding issue relates to the fact that NHS England does not routinely pay for Docetaxel chemo, despite a clinical trial finding it could extend patients’ lives by nearly two years in May.
A spokesman added that it is in discussions with the family and that it “will investigate any matters they feel remain unresolved”.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has written to Mr Hunt to raise another Leeds man’s case who was invited for Docetaxel in August and then told no funding was available. He has been offered it for free in Birmingham.
Last month NHS England said it was “taking a careful look” at the evidence behind the drug and is awaiting the results of a further trial. In the meantime “routes remain open” for doctors with “exceptional” or “urgent” cases.
Visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/helen-monnelly-1 for the crowdfunding page.