I recently spent another day meeting with MPs in Westminster to talk about chronic myeloid leukaemia and seek their support in helping CML patients access effective medicines. The meetings were with Maggie Throup and Kevin Foster, both newly elected Conservative Members of Parliament who have a keen interest in health matters.

Maggie, who has a background in blood testing having previously worked in pathology labs, had just been to her first Health Select Committee meeting as she has been elected to serve on the group for this parliament. Kevin was on his way to an introductory meeting with ministers at the Department of Health when we met, so both meetings were very timely.

I explained what it means to have CML, the different phases of the disease, and the importance of having a range of medicines available for patients who become resistant or cannot tolerate a particular drug. I updated Maggie and Kevin on the campaigning work I have been doing to improve access for patients, and the difficulties CML patients in England are facing in terms of accessing ponatinib, which is available in Wales in Scotland, as well as the threat of delisting to bosutinib which is currently available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Both MPs were sympathetic to the situation, and the meetings will only serve to reinforce the need for more to be done to improve the current system and ensure patients have the best range of treatment options available to them. Once the MPs return after their summer recess I hope to have more parliamentary meetings to continue to raise awareness of the key issues for CML. By then we will know the outcome of the CDF delisting meetings which are currently taking place . It’s vital we keep the pressure on so that the decision makers know we need a range of effective drugs to treat CML, and that no patients should be missing out.

I’m always very appreciative to any MP who spends a little time with me to learn more about CML and wish to send thanks to Maggie and Kevin for their time and understanding.

Kris Griffin

Kevin Foster MP and Kris Griffin

Kevin Foster MP and Kris Griffin

Maggie Throup MP and Kris Griffin

Maggie Throup MP and Kris Griffin