NHS To Fund Ashya King's Proton Beam Therapy

26 September 2014, 19:23 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

The NHS has agreed to fund five-year-old brain tumour patient Ashya King's treatment in the Czech Republic.

His parents sparked an international police hunt when they removed their son from Southampton General Hospital on August 28 without medical consent.

They took him to Prague to receive proton beam therapy which was not available for him on the NHS.

A spokesman for NHS England said: `

`Our thoughts are with Ashya and his family as he begins follow-on radiotherapy.

``Now that Ashya is in Prague, it is clearly best that Ashya continues to be treated uninterrupted so the NHS has agreed to fund this care, as requested by his parents, in accordance with relevant European cross-border arrangements.

``We all join in wishing him well, and greatly hope he makes a full and successful recovery.''

Brett and Naghemeh King from Southsea faced a legal battle to get their child to Prague's Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) after removing Ashya from hospital, with a High Court judge approving the move after they had been released from police custody in Spain.

The PTC, in a statement on its website, outlined the difference between proton beam therapy and conventional radiotherapy.

It said: ''Proton therapy can be much better modulated and precisely focused into the tumour volume. In case of irradiation of medulloblastoma in Ashya, it is necessary to apply the highest possible dose into the former location but protect the tissue around as much as possible.

''In Ashya's case, those are vital structures of the heart, lung, liver and intestines.''

Proton therapy would decrease the dose to other parts of the body, including the heart, liver and intestines and trachea by up to 80%, the PTC said.

''This means decreasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders, breathing disorders or metabolic disorders on the first place and better protection of the swallowing functions and normal food intake,'' the statement added