Charity given £10,000 lottery funding to publicise controversial vitamin treatment

LOTTERY BOOST: Members of the Vitamin B12 Support Group at the Shinwell Medical Centre, in Horden, (left to right) Dr Joseph Chandy, president, Hugo Minney, chief executive, Janet Kelly, Ann Peel, Cathy and Norman Imms
LOTTERY BOOST: Members of the Vitamin B12 Support Group at the Shinwell Medical Centre, in Horden, (left to right) Dr Joseph Chandy, president, Hugo Minney, chief executive, Janet Kelly, Ann Peel, Cathy and Norman Imms
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A CHARITY has been handed almost £10,000 in lottery funding to publicise a controversial treatment.

The B12 Deficiency Support Group (B12D), which was set up three years ago, aims to spread the word about the vitamin treatment, which has been claimed to help people suffering from a range of debilitating conditions.

Members of the Vitamin B12 Support Group at the Shinwell Medical Centre in Horden (l to r) Dr Joseph Chandy, president, Hugo Minney, chief executive, Janet Kelly, Ann Peel, Cathy and Norman Imms.

Members of the Vitamin B12 Support Group at the Shinwell Medical Centre in Horden (l to r) Dr Joseph Chandy, president, Hugo Minney, chief executive, Janet Kelly, Ann Peel, Cathy and Norman Imms.

Horden-based doctor Joseph Chandy, a life-time president of the group, applied to the Big Lottery Fund for the £9,500 grant.

The money will be used to develop the B12D website, which attracts visitors from around the world.

“Initially, the website was set up and run in-house, but we’re now at the stage where we need to take the next step and make it more user-friendly and easier to navigate,” he said.

“The money will be used to appoint a company to work on the site and improve it.

“We want to make sure that people visiting the site will be able to find the information they need quickly and be able to understand it.”

It is claimed vitamin B12 can be used to treat a range of conditions, including fatigue, ME, MS, and Addison’s disease.

“With some patients, the treatment really is the difference between life and death,” said Dr Chandy.

“Patients often say to me: ‘It has given me my life back’.

“It makes a huge difference.

“It is life-changing.”

The General Medical Council suspended Dr Chandy from prescribing the simple vitamin B12 treatment – as the National Institute for Clinical and Health Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend B12 to treat fatigue.

It is the third time Dr Chandy has had to withdraw the treatment for his patients.

In 2001, the former Easington Primary Care Trust (PCT) halted prescription for similar reasons.

But after a campaign by patients, the treatment was quickly reinstated, until 2006, when the newly-formed County Durham and Darlington PCT ordered its suspension.

People have spoken in support of Dr Chandy’s treatment for B12 deficiency, including Norman Imms, whose daughter Wendy Kitching, 42, has been a patient since she was a young girl.

Wendy, who has lived at the Hawthorns care home, in Peterlee, for three years, was diagnosed B12 deficient in 2001. Mr Imms wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron, the health minister and the GMC pleading to lift the ban.