Fred and family.
Pinsent Mason's Head of Comms has lit a fire under the government this week with his campaign for end-of-life patients to be granted early access to Covid vaccines.
Fred Banning, who is 38 and has two young children, was diagnosed with stage four metastatic cancer in February. He was told that any treatment would be palliative and that, without treatment, he had nine months to live. "I am unlikely to see the end of 2021", he said.
Writing in The Times, Banning described how Covid had added to the weight of his diagnosis. "Instead of spending our limited time together making the most of life, and creating memories with those who matter, we shielded", he said.
Banning has campaigned for the vaccine rollout to the general population to be based on factors other than just age. For those nearing the end of their life, "vaccination is the key to getting precious, meaningful time with the people who matter to us", wrote Banning.
A dozen charities including Marie Curie and Hospice UK joined the Pinsent Masons marketing guru in an open letter calling on ministers to consider granting him and others in similar situations priority access to vaccines.
Miles Biggs, the health spokesmen for the Scottish Conservatives, has lodged a parliamentary motion in support of Banning's campaign.
And following Banning's appearance on the Today programme, Michael Gove was quizzed on Sky News about what exactly the government was doing to address the predicament faced by Banning and others in a similar situation.
Banning said he was "encouraged" by Gove's assurances that it was being discussed, but said "urgent clarification is now needed".
He emphasised that it was "not a case of queue jumping over equally deserving cases", but about asking the decision makers "to give serious consideration as to how our society treats those who are nearing the end of their lives".
Senior partner at Pinsent Masons, Richard Foley, told RollOnFriday, “Fred is a good friend and so it’s hard not to be drawn into this story, not least because Fred has always been a powerful advocate with the courage to speak up and have his voice heard".
"The effect of the Covid-19 crisis has been keenly felt by so many and its always difficult to say who is more deserving than who but, as Fred says, it doesn't seem too much to ask whether those receiving palliative care have been considered in the context of the roll out of the vaccine and, if so, for them to be told where they stand. I’m sure I speak for many in the profession when I say I hope an answer to that question is quickly forthcoming.”
Banning told ROF, "I’m in the perhaps unusual position of being delighted that RollOnFriday have seen fit to take up the cause and mention my name - and I didn’t even need to spill ketchup on anybody’s trousers”.
Readers: please give freely to Fred's Just Giving page, 'Fred's farewell to arms', which is raising money for Bowel Cancer UK.
Amazing work, Fred. Oi! Hancock! Jab 'im!