I WAS astounded that a 34-year-old breast cancer patient, Susan Jones, from the Manchester area, was preparing to pay for life-saving drugs herself, after the area health authority refused to cough up.

It was to cost her £1,200 for her first infusion of Herceptin at the Christie, and then £400 a week for every other treatment.

The poor woman, as if she didn't have enough to worry about.

The ridiculous thing was that if she had lived in Liverpool, she would have got it free.

Now, after adverse publicity, everything thankfully is all changed.

On Friday, the North West NHS Executive issued a statement that the Christie Hospital, Regional Office of the NHS and Health Authorities in Greater Manchester had reached an agreement that consultants at the Christie will prescribe Herceptin on the NHS to appropriate patients ahead of NICE guidance.

Funding arrangements have yet to be agreed, but in the meantime, local patients will not be disadvantaged.

What a breakthrough at last for Susan and for breast cancer sufferers in the area.

No-one in that sad position should have to worry about buying treatment for themselves. It should be equality for all when it comes to saving lives, not down to which post code patients live in.