MP Duncan Hames calls for rethink over Lyme disease
By Western Daily Press | Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 05:00
A man infected by ticks has been carrying out "drug runs" to Europe because the medicines he requires are not available on the NHS, the MP for Chippenham has said.
Duncan Hames, the Chippenham MP, wants ministers to act
Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames asked yesterday for ministerial talks to ensure continuing treatments for Lyme disease are on offer, adding that figures suggest people living in the South West of England are three times as likely to contract the infection.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to people by ticks, which can be found in woodland areas and feed on the blood of mammals including humans. Due to the nature of their work, farm workers can be particularly susceptible. The condition can affect the skin, joints, heart and nervous system, according to the NHS. Mr Hames told the Commons during health questions: "I have a constituent doing what he calls 'drug runs' to Europe in order access the medicines that tackle his symptoms. Will the minister meet with me to discuss how we can make sure that continuing treatments for Lyme disease are available on the NHS?"
Health Minister Jane Ellison replied: "I am very happy to meet with you and have that discussion."
Parliamentary data released to Mr Hames stated that 734 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the South West between 2010 and 2012. In England and Wales there were 2,904 cases in the period.