Stoma bag-user ‘told to go to needle exchange’ after being denied NHS syringes

A young woman who needs to inject life-saving medication three times daily says she has been denied a NHS prescription for syringes ‘due to cutbacks’.

Charlotte Bonwick, who has a permanent stoma bag and is fed through a tube, claims she was told by the service to instead get her clean needles from an exchange usually reserved for drug addicts.

The 23-year-old, who was born with her intestines outside her body, needs to inject medication every eight hours to stabilise her body, which has been ravaged by sepsis a shocking six times.

The West Sussex woman claims she was recently told by her doctor she could no longer have a NHS script for hypodermic syringes.

She also says her regular prescription for anti-sickness drug, Cyclizine, which she needs to inject to help keep water down and weight on, had been reduced to "meagre rations" and was having negative impacts on her health.

"Due to absorption problems, I cannot just take a tablet.

"I have to have medication in other forms, eg. patches which stick onto the skin and release the drug, injections, medication that melts under the tongue, IV through my central line.

"These medications are so important when trying to live life as normal as possible."

Too fearful to visit a needle exchange, the young woman, who is so ill she cannot work, has begun borrowing money from her parents to afford the £500-a-month private prescription for syringes.

She said: "This whole thing came out of the blue, I had no warning whatsoever – it’s made me really upset because now I can’t rely on them.

"Whenever I went to go and pick up my prescription they said they lost it – that’s how it started.

"They couldn’t tell me where the prescription was – it came across a bit strange.

"I have been on drugs since I was born – it seems they are just phasing me out, they told me that the drugs were just too expensive, but these are the only ones that work.”

"How am I supposed to take my medication."

Free charity needle exchanges are usually set up to improve the health of drug addicts by giving them a free way to get new needles, rather than having to share.

She contacted Mid Sussex East Shoreham CCG to raise her issue .

She added: "They told me to go the needle exchange.

"It shouldn’t be about costs, they should be caring for people who need it regardless."

Charlotte has started a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise money for her ongoing medication.

Mid Sussex East Shoreham CCG have been approached for a comment.

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