Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ashya King's family 'not safe for UK return'

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Media captionAshya King's father told reporters his son's condition had improved

Ashya King and his family will not yet return to the UK because they "do not feel safe", his father has said.

Brett King said Ashya will be taken to Spain after responding well to proton beam treatment in Prague.

He said they fear "something might happen" if they try go back to their Portsmouth home.

Ashya's story received global attention in August when he was taken from hospital in Southampton without medical consent.

Image copyright Proton Therapy Centre
Image caption Ashya King, pictured with his mother Naghemeh King, has finished his treatment in Prague

The five-year-old, who required brain tumour treatment, was taken to Spain by his parents, where they were arrested.

They had wanted him to undergo proton beam therapy, which had not been recommended by his former doctors treating him at Southampton General Hospital. The couple were later released and the NHS agreed to fund his treatment in September.

Mr King said they planned to return to their Portsmouth home after the conclusion of an investigation into what happened.

"It is our intention to go back to England but we just want to give it some distance, some time at which will hopefully they say this investigation will finish in March, which is great for us because that is about five months.," he said.

"Hopefully, Ashya will be well along in his treatment in Spain by then."

The Portsmouth Local Safeguarding Children Board announced in September that it would review the circumstances which led to the Kings taking Ashya abroad and the response of all the statutory authorities.

Image copyright Proton Therapy Centre
Image caption A farewell party was held for Ashya at the Proton Therapy Centre

Ashya will be seen by doctors in Spain on Monday after he had his last dose of proton beam therapy on Friday.

Mr King said his son's condition had improved since he had been at the Proton Therapy Centre in Prague.

"You remember when he was just lying on a bed, but now he tries to walk, he sits up," he said.

"We can actually start communicating with him."

What is proton beam therapy?

  • It uses charged particles instead of X-rays to deliver radiotherapy for cancer patients
  • The treatment allows high-energy protons to be targeted directly at a tumour, reducing the dose to surrounding tissues and organs
  • In general, it gives fewer side effects compared with high-energy X-ray treatments
  • It can be used to treat spinal cord tumours, sarcomas near the spine or brain, prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer and some children's cancers

Sources: NHS England, Cancer Research UK

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