MP joins Donacloney mum in meningitis campaign

Upper Bann MP David Simpson MP has joined Donacloney mum Lana Wells in urging the Government to put children’s lives before cost.

The move comes with a decision on the implementation of the MenB vaccination programme imminent.

Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt’s decision is expected to be announced later this month - four years after little Leo Wells lost his battle with meningococcal septicaemia at the age of two and a half.

His mum Lana is urging the Government to implement the vaccine programme which could have saved her toddler’s life, to spare other families the heartache she went through.

“The Government has so far decided not to use the vaccine due to uncertainties about its cost effectiveness.

Last week David Simpson met with families left devastated by the disease and joined with them and MPs from all parties at Parliament, to call on the government to make the vaccine available free on the NHS.

David Simpson said: “The lives of many families in my own constituency have been turned upside down by this disease.

“For parents to know that there is a vaccine out there which could potentially prevent a significant proportion of cases but is unavailable to their children on the NHS is just ludicrous.

“Figures state that £28m was paid out in compensation to families of children left permanently disabled by Meningitis missed by GP’s over a four year period.

“How do we compensate for the life of a child?

“The Government cannot make this decision on cost alone.”

Meningitis Now has been campaigning to bring in the B vaccine since January 2013 and the chief executive Sue Davie said: “I want to thank David Simpson MP for his support and for taking time out to meet families affected by meningitis”.

A spokesman for the Health Department at Stormont said, “The Minister is currently awaiting the outcome of the deliberations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation regarding the possible inclusion of a meningitis B vaccine into the routine childhood vaccination programme.

“The Minister will consider the final JCVI recommendations when he receives them before deciding what the policy will be in Northern Ireland. The Minister will make his decision known in due course.

“In the meantime, the Minister very much welcomes the quest for an effective, safe and cost–effective vaccine to protect against meningitis B.”