Imagine that you are suffering from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, and after the failure of all your treatments you find yourself days away from death. Unwilling to just give up and die you seek out a different treatment and, miraculously, things stop getting worse and start to turn around. This isn't a miracle cure - the cancer is still there - but you start to gain strength, you become more mobile, you have stepped away from the brink. Now imagine that if the only doctor who could prescribe this treatment was suddenly stopped from giving it to you. Your life line has just been snatched away.
That's a pretty horrible picture I've just painted, but this is exactly the position that Gary Bowden, suffering from a rare bone cancer called chondrosarcoma, finds himself in. The treatment that has pulled him off the Liverpool Care Pathway is Coley's Toxins, prescribed by Dr Henry Mannings at Star Throwers in Wymondham, Norfolk. Dr Mannings is the only person in the UK licensed by the MHRA to give Coley's to his patients. Yet because of a completely unrelated complaint Dr Mannings has been banned by the GMC from prescribing drugs at Star Throwers. Effectively this is the end of treatment for Gary Bowden and the other patients receiving Coley's.
The whole thing stinks. It's an outrage that patients with no other treatment options are being denied a treatment that is working for them. Not one patient has ever complained about Dr Mannings and his treatments - not one.
I am proud to be a trustee at Star Throwers, and I've seen the statement that Gary Bowden wrote to the GMC prior to the hearing against Dr Mannings. It's a catlogue of misdiagnoses, poor treatments and worsening disease. The failure to diagnose his disease for two years doesn't have any spin-offs, but Henry Mannings prescribing at Star Throwers does. It's an outrage.
You can read more about Gary Bowden here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-20579518