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23 January 2017

Senior haematologists have reacted in dismay to a decision to block the giving of second allogeneic stem cell transplants on the NHS.

NHS England has ruled that the treatment offers the "lowest cost-benefit priority" of a number of specialist treatments it had under review.

Haematologists said the treatment was routine before 2013 - and that it offers a 30% chance of five years of survival.

NHS England took its decision in spite of the treatment being backed by its blood and marrow transplantation clinical reference group, the Health Service Journal reported.

The group had reported that up to 20 patients a year would need the treatment.

Professor Charles Craddock, of the University Hospitals Birmingham, a member of the group, told the journal: “There is a consensus of opinion by responsible expert haemato-oncologists in the UK and across the world saying this is important but we having a funding process that flies in the face of that.”

Another group member Dr Jenny Byrne, president of the British Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation, said the costs of treatment would be replaced by the cost of palliative care for patients who did not receive the treatment.

She said: “It’s a hideous situation especially as they may be sat next to a patient in clinic who had their second transplant in 2012. It is totally unfair.”

An NHS England spokeswoman told the journal the “intervention is not routinely offered on the NHS due to its relatively low success rate."



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