Ashya King: Parents told they can take five-year-old to Prague to seek proton treatment for brain tumour

Doctors in Southampton are understood to have said the treatment is unlikely to have any benefits over those available in the UK

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The Independent Online

The parents of Ashya King have been told they can take him to the Czech Republic to seek proton treatment for his brain tumour.

The family are expected to be taken to Prague by private jet after the High Court approved a treatment plan.

Ashya, five, became the focus of an international hunt police hunt when his parents, Brett and Naghmeh King, took him from a hospital in Southampton last week to travel to Spain, hoping to continue to the Czech republic.

Mr Justice Baker approved a the plan after speaking on the telephone to lawyers representing Mr and Mrs King and Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire.


However, doctors in Southampton are understood to have said the proton treatment is unlikely to have any benefits over the treatments that would be available in the UK.

Having left Southampton with Ashya last week, Mr and Mrs King were arrested in Spain on an international warrant after British police raised the alarm.

They were released from custody after a public outcry at the way the authorities were behaving, with supporters including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who was critical of their arrest. The couple were reunited with their sick son when prosecutors withdrew the arrest warrant.

Portsmouth City Council, which has responsibilities for Ashya's welfare, launched family court litigation - asking for directions about the youngster's treatment – and Mr Justice Baker began analysing issues surrounding Ashya's treatment at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Tuesday.

The judge was told - on Tuesday - that Mr and Mrs King wanted their son to receive proton beam radiotherapy.

A lawyer representing bosses at Southampton General Hospital said doctors aimed to provide chemotherapy but not proton beam. Vikram Sachdeva said such treatment could not be provided in Britain.

More details on Mr Justice Baker’s ruling are expected to be released in court on Monday but he said that Ashya - who is currently in hospital in Malaga, Spain - could be taken to the University Hospital Motol in the Czech Republic.

He said he had been told that specialists at a Czech proton therapy centre had considered a treatment plan and that he had been presented with evidence showing Mr and Mrs King could afford the cost of treatment and transport.

The judge said he would cease to have responsibility for Ashya once the youngster arrived at the Czech hospital.

A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: "Today's judgment will allow Ashya to get the treatment he urgently needs without any further delays.

"Throughout the period that we cared for Ashya and over the last few days, our only interest has been his health, medical treatment and welfare. We will continue to support any clinicians involved in his future care with advice and information."