Henderson in medicines plea

A WOMAN suffering from a serious long-term illness yesterday praised an Essex MP after he called for free prescriptions for those affected by her condition.

A WOMAN suffering from a serious long-term illness yesterday praised an Essex MP after he called for free prescriptions for those affected by her condition.

Stephanie Tyrer, from Larksfield Crescent, Harwich, said she was delighted at news that Ivan Henderson had tabled a bill set to go before Parliament concerning congenital heart disease.

Ms Tyrer, 37, has suffered from the disorder since birth and, although she is on a list for a transplant, said yesterday she doubted if she would ever have one.

"I have been ill for all of my life," she said yesterday. "I had an operation as a child and I had a heart attack when I was 18, just after my birthday.


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"Sometimes it's so bad I can't open a packet of crisps."

She added that she had contacted Harwich MP Mr Henderson on behalf of the charity GUCH (Grown Up Congenital Heart Patients Association).

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Ms Tyrer said: "I don't have to pay for my prescriptions because I am on Income Support, but I know people who are just above the poverty who go without their drugs because they want to feed their families.

"I have lost quite a few of my friends to the condition. You go to so many funerals and you think there must be something you can do to make these peoples' lives just a little bit easier.

"I asked some people with the disorder 'what would do that?' and they said free prescriptions."

Yesterday Mr Henderson - Labour MP for Harwich - announced he has tabled a 10 Minute Rule Bill titled "Congenital Heart Disease - Exemption from Prescription Charges" which will go before the House of Commons on October 19.

He said: "For the vast majority of people, decisions on whether to smoke, drink or take regular exercise give us a choice as to whether or not we look after our hearts.

"Those born with a congenital heart condition are denied this choice and, in adult life, face many difficulties.

"I do not believe these difficulties should include having to pay prescription charges for the drugs necessary to keep them alive."

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