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Patient's chemo treatment brought forward after a call

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: July 18, 2013

RELIEVED: Geraldine and John Hunter. Picture: Mike Southon.

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A CANCER sufferer from Bideford, who could have had his chemotherapy treatment delayed by more than a week, is relieved the problem has been resolved after he contacted the Journal.

John Hunter, 66, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

Since then the disease has spread to his lungs and liver meaning he is having to go through another course of chemotherapy.

Unfortunately the chemotherapy caused John to suffer from angina.

As a result, after an appointment with his oncologist at North Devon District Hospital last week John was switched to another drug which he was due to start on Monday.

However, less than two hours before the appointment John was called by the hospital to say they had run out of the drug. The hospital gave John another appointment provisionally for Friday, more than a week since meeting with the oncologist.

John and his wife Geraldine, 68, then contacted the Journal.

After the Journal contacted the hospital John was given a last-minute appointment for Tuesday.

The hospital confirmed the drug had been on order for more than a month and finally arrived on Tuesday, and that only one other patient was affected, who was also treated on Tuesday.

Dr Alison Diamond, the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust medical director, said: "Delays such as this are very rare and are out of our control.

"We would like to reiterate our apologies to Mr Hunter and his family for any distress caused.

"As soon as the new stocks arrived, we brought forward Mr Hunter's appointment to ensure he was treated at the earliest opportunity."

John said: "Our problem was with the pharmacy. It doesn't help during a stressful time like this being delayed at the last minute.

"We are very grateful it was resolved and we are sure the Journal's intervention helped speed it up."

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