Opinion: Making breakthroughs in serious illnesses

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 August 2018

Julia Lopez was elected as Hornchurch & Upminster's locap MP at the 2017 General Election.

Julia Lopez was elected as Hornchurch & Upminster's locap MP at the 2017 General Election.


Some of the hardest cases my team and I have dealt with since my election to Parliament last year have concerned constituents who wished to highlight an illness affecting someone precious to them, or a time when a loved one did not receive the care they should have.

It can be difficult to get breakthroughs in such cases and to offer the comfort we would like to give residents going through such trying times.

This summer, we were able to make progress on treatment for neuroblastoma, the vicious childhood cancer brought to the nation’s attention by the inspirational young football fan, Bradley Lowery.

Many residents will be aware of three-year-old Hornchurch resident Isla Caton’s own courageous battle against neuroblastoma and the valiant fundraising efforts of her family to obtain a particular treatment in America not yet available on the NHS.

At the beginning of June I raised Isla’s case with the prime minister, asking her to encourage drugs companies and medicines body, NICE, to come to a deal to fund that same treatment in England.

Such a deal has now been done and I am working with other MPs to push for this to be rolled out on the NHS as soon as possible. It is testament to the resilience and determination of the Catons and other families in the same position that they have achieved this breakthrough, and we send our love and support to them in the next stage of Isla’s fight.

My team and I are also looking into the issue of sepsis after meeting a local resident who tragically lost his wife this year to the condition.

Sepsis arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs, and we are going to try to raise awareness of the symptoms, get better collection of patient data on the NHS and see whether diagnostic methods can be improved. We shall keep residents up-to-date with our progress.

Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting the new interim chief executive of Queen’s Hospital as we continue to push for greater financial accountability and a higher standard of patient care following its journey out of special measures.

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