Charities unite for #PatientsTogether initiative

Today, charities and patient organisations including The Hepatitis C Trust have joined forces for a display of unity, in response to the ‘divisive’ communications from NHS England over which specialised treatments it will fund.

In a letter published today in The Times, leaders representing patients with rare or complex conditions, said: “Over recent weeks, we have been alarmed by the ‘divide and rule’ tactics used by NHS England when communicating which new treatments it will make available to patients.

“These funding decisions affect the lives of people with a range of rare or complex conditions. As organisations representing the patients who would benefit from these treatments, we are concerned by the way in which NHS England has publicly pitted the interests of one patient group against another in its press statements.

“All patients, and all conditions, matter.”

Signatories included patient groups National Voices and the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, as well as charities representing patients with epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone Disease, hepatitis C, rare blood cancer WM, pituitary disorders and those at risk of HIV.

A host of wider patient organisations have also joined in by tweeting photos of their staff and supporters holding up signs reading #PatientsTogether.

In light of this week’s High Court hearing about HIV prevention drug, PrEP, NHS England will soon look again at which treatments it will fund.

The letter warns: “Whatever the outcome, we must not see a repeat of this divisive approach.”

The signatories concluded:  “We understand the NHS must make difficult choices. All we ask from our national health service is to adopt an ethical and transparent approach in taking these decisions and to communicate them in a way that is respectful to the people who are affected by them.”

Show your support on social media with the hashtag #PatientsTogether