Raunds woman wins two-year fight for best drugs after getting Hepatitis C from contaminated blood

Susan Wathen has finally got the drug she has been fighting for
Susan Wathen has finally got the drug she has been fighting for

A woman has finally won her fight for the best possible treatment after contracting Hepatitis C from contaminated blood given to her by the NHS.

Susan Wathen from Raunds has been fighting for the best possible drugs after doctors told her that she had got Hepatitis C from contaminated blood given to her by the NHS before 1991.

Mrs Wathen with the Harvoni medication she has been fighting for

Mrs Wathen with the Harvoni medication she has been fighting for

She could have been infected up to 30 years ago, but it was only in 2014 that she was diagnosed with the virus that can infect the liver.

If left untreated, it can cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.

Since Mrs Wathen’s diagnosis, there has been a two-year fight to be treated with the best possible drugs.

She wanted the Harvoni drug, which is largely symptom-free and has a 90 per cent cure rate, but was told on several occasions that she was not eligible for it despite approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which recommends the treatment is funded by NHS England for the majority of Hepatitis C patients.

I took the first dose on Friday and have high hopes of a cure

Susan Wathen

Just two months ago, she was told yet again that she was not ill enough to receive the drug.

In a bid to raise further awareness of her plight, she contacted her MP Tom Pursglove and he has been supporting her with her case, including raising the issue in the House of Commons in December.

And finally their efforts have paid off with Mrs Wathen finding out last week that she has won her case on appeal.

Mrs Wathen, who first shared her story with the Northants Telegraph in August 2015, said: “I have, at last, got the drug that I have been fighting for over the last two years.

“Access to the drug was finally granted on an individual appeal, but I was still not convinced that I would actually get it until the drug arrived by medical courier on Thursday.

“I took the first dose on Friday and have high hopes of a cure.

“The scandal of contaminated blood is still relatively unknown and largely unreported and I would like to thank you for drawing attention to the issue on behalf of myself and all the other victims.

“I am enormously grateful to my MP Tom Pursglove whose persistence and hard work have helped me to achieve this outcome.

“I feel sure that without his unwavering support I would not now be receiving this treatment.”

For more information about Hepatitis C and the support available, go to www.hepctrust.org.uk.

To read how the Northants Telegraph first reported on Mrs Wathen’s story, click here