fred banning

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!

Tip Off ROF


Lydia 11 December 20 09:05

This is so sad. He is in the prime of life with young children. I am not sure the vaccine is particularly useful however as it may not last longer than 3 months in effect, it may not stop those vaccinated passing on CV19 and I am not sure we should be using it on very sick people when it is early days.  if I were his family I would take him home for his last year and all be together there. Is there any reason that cannot happen? May be he has to be in hospital however.


I certainly support removal of all mandatory CV19 legislation so that families can make a choice about what risks they want to take rather than risk breaking the law in doing so. I have been against the mandatory rules since March although I have followed them all.

Fred 11 December 20 09:41

Don’t worry - he’s not in hospital ;)

The Early Day Motion is at ; please take a moment to encourage your MP to sign if you see fit.

Thanks RoF!!

frankartisan 11 December 20 10:08

Fred - thank you for highlighting this. I hope you and your family succeed in this no-brainer of a policy and that you and they get to enjoy precious times x

A 11 December 20 11:21

Bless, poor guy and the family. He should definitely be able to get the vaccine asap. We give vaccines to 98 year olds who are also nearing the end of their lives aren't they. It's all about protecting the most vulnerable first and people such as Fred are definitely among them.

Also ex-PM 11 December 20 11:59

Heartsick to read this, Fred. Wishing you and the family all the very best. Will do what I can to support your very worthy campaign and wishing you all the very best of Christmases. You deserve it. 

Miguel Trapezaris 11 December 20 12:13

So sad, this really upset me. He deserves to spend even a few more months with his family. A reminder for the rest of us to appreciate what we have while we can.

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