In June 2005, Pamela Northcott was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Pam had watched her own Mother, just 50 years old, succumb to the same disease. She was steadfast in her view that her own children would not watch her die too. She would fight this with every ounce of her being. The family was then distraught to be informed that there were no effective chemotherapy treatments for kidney cancer.
Her daughter Kate took leave from work, put her children into full time nursery and started her journey of forensic research into kidney cancer in the desperate hope of saving her Mum.
She found a world expert in kidney cancer in New York and sent Pam’s medical notes over. The clinician confirmed there were two new drugs that were used in most of Europe and the US: Sutent and Nexavar. Kate now had a goal, promising her mum that she would obtain one of these drugs, which Pam’s oncologist had stated was “an impossible task”.
Kate began her ‘Fight for Life’ campaign seeking NHS approval of these new drugs for her Mum. After nine months of sleepless nights researching the UK’s cancer commissioning process, Kate discovered a hidden ‘Exceptional Case’ policy, which allowed clinicians to apply to their local NHS board for the funding of high cost cancer drugs for individual patients. After Kate’s relentless campaign to the NHS Board, Pam became the first person in Wales to access the drug. Sadly this came too late for her and she passed away 4 months later. Pam’s dying wish was for Kate to ensure others also gained access to the drug. On 13th August 2007, the day after her mother’s death, Kate set up The Pamela Northcott Fund – “The Right Treatment at the Right Time for Cancer Patients”.
Kate’s campaigning and advocacy resulted in NHS funding the new drugs for over 70 kidney cancer patients in the first 6 months after Pam’s death. Within 12 months the Welsh NHS had approved both drugs for all kidney cancer patients. Kate was then asked to be an Expert Patient Witness for the English drug approval body NICE and now both are standard treatment for kidney cancer patients in the UK.
This could have been a great end of the story. However, hundreds of patients contacted Kate with similar stories of new drugs for a multitude of cancers being refused due to cost. She took on every case and ensured over 300 patients gained NHS funding for their specific cancer. Kate has become a successful campaigner for access to all new cancer treatments. She is now an expert in NHS cancer commissioning policy, briefing MP’s, the media and oncologists. She has campaigned for the Cancer Drugs Fund which has now provided new life-extending cancer drugs to over 80,000 patients. She successfully lobbied the government to ensure cancer patient rights, including access to new treatments, were top of the agenda.
Kate provides free advocacy nationally for any cancer patient refused NHS funding for a new drug. She also mentors teen cancer patients supporting and advising local organisations working with vulnerable adults and terminally ill children. Kate is resolute that she will continue this work until every cancer patient in the UK receives “the right treatment at the right time”.
We were delighted to welcome our Guest Speaker – Janette McCormick QPM
Janette joined Greater Manchester Police in 1989 after graduating from Nottingham University. She worked across Greater Manchester in a range of policing areas including roads policing, neighbourhoods and communications. She was quickly promoted becoming one of the youngest Sergeants and Inspectors in Manchester in the early 90s.
In 2006 she was given her first command in Bury and in 2007 she went to Trafford, where she was responsible for the policing of Manchester United travelling with them home and abroad. She is a qualified Firearms and Public Order Commander and is a national assessor.
In 2010 Janette transferred to Cheshire Constabulary as Assistant Chief Constable, where she led on the development of the Constabulary’s drugs, mental health and alcohol strategies. She also played a leading role in creating the joint Cheshire North Wales Firearms Alliance, which provides a more joined up police response to incidents on the border between the two forces.
In 2014 she was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable. Janette is now responsible for professional standards, corporate communications, legal department and performance. She is also responsible for co-ordinating the ambitious change programme the Constabulary has developed to meet the financial challenges. This was assessed as Outstanding by the national Inspection body. Janette was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2015.
Janette is passionate about ensuring fair treatment for under-represented groups and mentors women and other under-represented groups as part of the national police leaders development programme. She is the national police spokesperson for Gypsies and Irish Traveller issues, and has supported Forces across the country to improve community relations. She has recently taken on the national lead for Disability.
Janette is married with two daughters, both of whom follow in her love of sport. She plays tennis, badminton and lacrosse in local leagues and spends the rest of her time watching her girls play netball for Cheshire and lacrosse – apologies – for Lancashire!