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Don't let other girls suffer Jade's fate'

PUBLISHED: 09:32 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 25 August 2010

WORRY: Nicki and daughter Jenni.

WORRY: Nicki and daughter Jenni.

A MOTHER has lashed out at health bosses for not protecting young women against cervical cancer in the wake of celebrity Jade Goody s terminal illness.

A MOTHER has lashed out at health bosses for not protecting young women against cervical cancer in the wake of celebrity Jade Goody's terminal illness.

Mother-of-two Nicki Hunt, 50, of Madison Avenue, Bexleyheath, is furious that Bexley Care Trust has not started to vaccinate girls aged 17 to 18 against cervical cancer.

The Trust was given £45,000 last year to give young women seven-month treatments of inoculations against human papilloma virus (HPV), a leading cause of cervical cancer.

However, it has only handed out vaccinations for girls aged 12 and 13 and, unlike neighbouring Bromley, not started the 'catch-up group' aged 17 and 18.

Mrs Hunt said she is frightened her eldest daughter Jenni, 17, could end up like Big Brother contestant Jade Goody, 27, who was told she has just months to live after being diagnosed with cervical cancer last year.

The teaching assistant at Bexley Academy said: "I feel angry about it because it is possibly a life-saving inoculation. It can mean the difference between being Jade Goody in a few years or being completely healthy.

"We have been trying to get this sorted last October, before Jade Goody's news was in the papers. It feels like the Trust is trying to pass the buck, nobody is standing there and saying 'We have received this money from the government and doing it'."

Nicki's paramedic husband Alan, 51, said: "There is not a single catch-up girl in this borough who has received it even though Bromley has started. If we lived a few miles down the road then both our daughters would have been vaccinated."

A spokesperson from Bexley Care Trust said the vaccinations will start in the coming half-term.

They said: "We will be providing six community-based clinics through our youth advisory service across the borough, which can be accessed by all young people in the target age range, even if they are not at school or college.

"Those young people in this year's catch-up programme will have the opportunity to complete their course of vaccinations before the start of the next academic year.

"We will give advice and support to young people who plan to move out of the area so that they don't miss out on completing the course of injections."

Meanwhile the mother of a teenage girl who died from leukaemia has praised Ms Goody for raising awareness of cervical cancer.

Lorraine Whitmore's daughter Jessica, from Haven Close, Swanley, died in September 2005 following a long battle with leukaemia, aged 17.

Like the reality TV star, the St Luke's College, Sidcup, student was determined to make more people aware of her illness and helped to get hundreds of people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Trust's Bone Marrow register.

Mrs Whitmore, 52, said: "Like Jade she wanted to talk about her illness for people to be more aware of it.

"It's so important just letting people know. There are a lot of people in Jade's position. When it happens to you, you think you're the only one but you are not. It can be a great help."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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