A MUM whose son is at high risk of sudden blindness is urging Wiganers to sign a petition protesting an NHS decision to stop drug funding.
Della Charnock, from Leigh, is backing the online campaign at change.org demanding a rethink on a decision to scrap the treatments used to tackle uveitis, the UK’s third most common cause of preventable sight loss.
The issue is particularly close to Della’s heart as her son Samuel, seven, is especially vulnerable to the condition due to having a severe form of juvenile arthritis.
Della, of Kenwood Avenue, is backing a call by children’s charities to support the petition and says she is appalled by the decision to revoke funding for the drugs.
Della, 41, said: “Samuel’s at high risk of developing uveitis due to his arthritis, but it affects other young people and adults as well.
“The government has decided it is not going to pay for these treatments which are known to be effective, but why are they prepared to let children and adults go blind?
“Samuel has screenings every three months and they are very strict about that, but I don’t even know if they will be scrapped.
“It seems a waste of time going for them because they won’t give him anything if he does. I just want everybody to know about it and to back the petition. I think it’s too important to let it just fall by the wayside and I just don’t know how they can deny people a drug that can save sight.”
The petition asks NHS England to reverse a decision made on July 2 to remove the funding for two uveitis drugs, infliximab and adalimumab.
Charities say the decision to revoke funding for the drugs flies in the face of clinical evidence and the views of medical staff and creates a postcode lottery as they are freely available in Scotland and Wales.
If the decision goes ahead patients in England will have to find up to £10,000 each year for the drugs, which help to reduce the effects of irreversible eye damage or even total blindness caused by uveitis, which is an inflammation inside the eye.
To view the petition or sign it, search for it at www.change.org