Raunds woman still waiting for best drugs after being infected with Hepatitis C from contaminated blood

Susan Wathen is still waiting
Susan Wathen is still waiting

A woman has been told she still can’t have the best possible treatment after she contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood given to her by the NHS.

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

Susan Wathen at home in Raunds

Susan Wathen at home in Raunds

She may have been infected 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.

Two years since her diagnosis, Mrs Wathen has been fighting to be treated with the Harvoni drug, which is largely symptom-free and has a 90 per cent cure rate.

But 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, Mrs Wathen has been told once again that she still isn’t eligible.

She was told in October that she wasn’t eligible and was told that she is still not ill enough to receive the drug at another appointment last month.

Mrs Wathen said: “I had an appointment when I expected to be given the go-ahead for treatment.

“NHS England is now funding the treatment but the Addenbrookes Operational Divisional Network (ODN), of which Bedford is a part, is still only treating F3 fibrosis and cirrhosis patients.

“According to my Hep nurse there are more people presenting with these complications ‘all the time’, in which case I may never reach the front of the queue.”

She has been told that the treatment is being given to patients like her in other parts of the country, but not in Bedford where she is being treated.

Mrs Wathen added: “We’re back to the postcode lottery again.

“I have been very unwell and am now into my fifth month off work, just how sick do I need to be?”

The MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove has been working with Mrs Wathen to try and get the best possible treatment for her as soon as possible, including raising her case in the House of Commons last December.

See how the Northants Telegraph first reported on Mrs Wathen and her fight for better treatment by clicking here

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