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NHS defends decision not to fund cannabis drug

The commissioning group which refused to fund a patient's cannabis-based drug says there is a lack of evidence about the benefits of the drug.

NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group said the Worcestershire Area Prescribing Committee had considered the evidence relating to Sativex for use of the treatment and the cost-effectiveness for patients.

On consideration, the Area Prescribing Committee did not consider it suitable for NHS funding due to limitations in clinical trial data and a lack of evidence of value for money for use of NHS funds.

Therefore Sativex is not recommended for use within Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

If new evidence becomes available, local clinicians may make a resubmission for consideration to the Worcestershire Area Prescribing Committee citing details of the new information available.


All the commissioning groups in the Calendar region have also refused to fund the drug.


Charity backs campaign to end cannabis drug "postcode lottery"

A charity which supports people with Multiple Sclerosis is backing a patient who claims funding for a cannabis-based drug should be available for everybody.

Cannabis itself has been used as a medicinal treatment for hundreds of years, but is still illegal in the UK in its raw form.

Sativex is an oral spray based on cannabis
Sativex is an oral spray based on cannabis Credit: GWPharma

Yvette Hodges had the medication recommended by her GP, but the Worcestershire Area Prescribing Committee has refused to fund it. She said she is aware of a number of people who self-medicate with cannabis, through various support groups and networks online.

"I am aware that people would turn to cannabis to relieve their pain - my theory on that is, if Sativex was available, I don't think people would do that.

I think the people who are turning to that do it because they can't get the drug that they need."

– Yvette Hodges

This has led to the MS Society launching its Treat Me Right campaign to call on health bosses to review prescribing levels for people diagnosed with MS.

The society wants all NHS bodies to fund Sativex - saying it should not be based on a patient's postcode.

"For years, the government has said 'we will prosecute people who use cannabis medicinally, people should wait for the pharmaceutical product to be available and that will then be prescribed'.

Well, the product is now available, and it's not being prescribed, so that leaves people between a rock and a hard place.

People should have access to it so they're not forced to look for what is still an illegal drug."

– Nick Rijke, MS Society

Sativex is not currently funded by any of the NHS commissioning bodies in the Calendar region - they say they need more evidence that it is value for money.

Patient refused funding for cannabis drug: Why are other areas funding it?

Yvette Hodges has been refused funding for a cannabis-based drug by the NHS - despite having had it recommended by her GP.

She is currently on high levels of oral morphine to try to tackle the pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but is keen to wean herself off the highly addictive medication as soon as possible - particularly if there is an alternative available.

The Worcestershire Area Prescribing Committee, responsible for commissioning drugs, has refused her the treatment, saying they need more evidence that it is value for money.

NHS governing bodies in the Calendar region have also refused to fund the drug. But Ms Hodges says people in other areas have been given the funding.

"Postcode lottery" for patients prescribed first cannabis-based drug

A multiple sclerosis patient has hit out at a "postcode lottery" in treatments for the condition as she battles to get funding for the UK's first licensed cannabis-based medication.

Yvette Hodges says the needs the drug Savitex
Yvette Hodges says the needs the drug Savitex Credit: ITV

Yvette Hodges, 39, had Sativex recommended to her by her neurologist as an add-on treatment to reduce the pain caused by severe spasms in her legs. The pain makes walking almost impossible.

She has to use crutches around the house, and a wheelchair when outside, as she is in danger of falling.

Ms Hodges lives in Redditch - but all NHS governing bodies in the Calendar region have also refused to fund the drug.

Breakthrough blood test may help detect cancer

Researchers at the university of Bradford may have made a major breakthrough with the development of a simple blood test to detect cancer.

New blood test may help detect cancer
New blood test may help detect cancer Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Experts say the test, which is currently being trialled at Bradford Royal Infirmary, has shown remarkable results. It has been in the research stages for over a decade but has so far proved accurate in detecting several different cancers.


MS sufferer calls for 'cannabis' drug to be made available throughout UK

A woman with multiple sclerosis say she has been the victim of a postcode lottery after being refused a drug - available in other parts of the country - which could significantly reduce her pain. Yvette Hodges has the support of her neurologist and her local MP but the NHS won't fund her treatment. The MS Society is now campaigning for the UKs first licensed drug based on cannabis to be more widely available and says it would help reduce the number of people who feel forced to self medicate with illegal drugs. Charlotte Cross reports.

Campaigners warn against privatisation of NHS

Campaigners in Hull have delivered a petition to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) opposing what they call the privatisation of the NHS.

'Save our NHS' say sexual health, anxiety & depression and physiotherapy services should be kept in the hands of the NHS, not with private companies.

The Hull CCG say they are committed to upholding the principles of the NHS and access to services is based on clinical need, not an individual's ability to pay:

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