Monday, 11 August 2008

Too much to ask

Breaking news from the Guardian... which doesn't particularly surprise me where Bristol is concerned, but it's very useful to have the figures with which to confirm my suspicions. Although it doesn't necessarily mean that the PCTs who turned down appeals are in the wrong; NICE is there for a purpose, and generally I would back its decisions. But I see its role primarily as ensuring that public money doesn't get wasted on virtually useless products being pushed by big pharmaceutical companies. It gets more difficult when there is clear proof that the drug does have some positive effect, but it comes down to a cost-benefit-analysis, which is roughly based on cost of the drug cf. additional years of quality life. How do you decide whether giving someone an average six months extra is worth £30,000?

The PCT exceptional funding appeals panels are meant to look not at whether someone's personal circumstances are exceptional, but whether their potential response to treatment sets them apart from other applicants. So it's not about whether you've got young children, or have led a blameless life, or whatever (which would get you into very difficult territory); it's about whether you're likely to live longer, respond better, etc. (Correct me if I'm wrong on that, someone).

I had one constituent recently who appealed successfully against being refused the kidney cancer drug Sutent - see my The Drugs Don't Work post from July, and no I didn't really mean that the drugs don't work as one email correspondent thought. On Friday however I was visited at my surgery by another constituent whose father has kidney cancer and is being denied Sutent. The family are faced with selling their belongings to try to fund the drug privately. They could also fall foul of the ridiculous NHS co-payment guidelines, which basically mean that if you pay for the drugs privately, you have to pay for everything privately. (We're doing something about that, thank God, although it won't come quickly enough for my constituent's father.)

Although my constituent's father doesn't live in Bristol, I've said I'll do what I can to support his appeal, along with his own MP. I'm not sure we'll succeed this time, given the NICE interim guidelines. But how do you tell someone what price you think should be put on a year of her father's life?

1 comment:

greg said...

Hi,

May I take the liberty of reminding you of the self serving speech of our glorious leader Gordon Brown in his speech on the 60th anniversary of the NHS:

"As individuals in Britain we know that - should serious illness strike - we will be cared for and the cost of that care will be absorbed not by us as individuals, but by all of us together - in a comprehensive healthcare system publicly funded by taxation"

This is the man who as Chancellor has racked up a National debt of £650bn.; achieved a deficit in government Pensions of £760bn.; accrued a deficit of over £90bn. in local Government pensions, achieved a debt of between £500bn. & £1.3Trillion on PFI.

Then he found £100bn. for professional gamblers who backed the wrong numbers in the City casinos at Northern Rock, Now followed by £500bn. for those daft enough to take £Millions in bonuses whilst robbing the system blind.

Now it looks as if we are to fund Iceland and the cupidity of the idiots in Local Government & Public Services who took John Prescott's advice and have lost yet more £Billions of other people's money - well that's socialism I guess.

Yet we are expected to turn a blind eye to Brown's lies in his statement about the NHS where a very small sum relatively would avoid the Government sheltering behind its cronies in its appointed QUANGOs as they EUthenase patients against their will based on economic expediency.

Perhaps someone can explain the difference between prescribing the wrong drugs to kill patients and prescribing no drugs and killing them against their will - How long before New Labour open Harald Shipman Wards in all hospitals to kill off patients who are inconvenient - starting I note with Kidney Cancer patients by refusal of Sutent, Nexavar, Torisil or Avastin when clinically required.

Just as Tony Blair's Government was guilty of lies about WMDs & Delivery Systems leading to War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity by their actions and dishonesty - now we have Gordon Brown's Government guilty of murdering British citizens in hospital beds!

If you want to learn more about Kidney Cancer have a look at www.KidneyCancerResource.com or contact me on 01291 - 62 65 62 or eMail me on Greg@GlanceBack.Demon.co.UK

Thank you for having tried to help one of your constituents with Renal Cell Carcinoma recently perhaps you could extend that to changing the system that kills NHS patients!

Regards,
Greg Lance-Watkins