Jonathan had a go at my last post, which is fair enough. – I meant to reply right away, but pressure of work has delayed me a bit… anyway, reply below.
OK – I’ll nail my colours to the mast. The piece is blurred re’ exactly which countries are being excluded. For example, Herceptin. In Scotland and now Wales this ‘very expensive and dangerous drug’ is available as of right to their respective populations. In England, if you want it - find a lawyer. Even when the patient’s own Specialist recommends Herceptin – the instruction is to take the prescription to the High Court rather than to the local chemist. It is a fact that England’s PCTs have been using the approval time as an excuse to delay roll out – and hence save money. In Scotland and Wales this is not a problem. Why? Could be something to do with the extra cash they get from Gordon Brown. I really cannot accept an argument that brands desperate English women as being hysterical and media-manipulated by the Daily Mail et al, whilst north of Carlisle and west of Chester, the drug is an accepted part of their National Dispensary, right next to the Asprin – and that is surely not right, is it?.
The guy on the TV the other night has so far spent 10 grand on ‘temozolomide’ – (it is currently keeping him alive). His Specialist told him about the drug as being specifically relevant to his type of cancer. Unfortunately, his PCT didn’t agree. When you’re in the last chance saloon do you really want some pen pusher from your local PCT, wringing hands and explaining that the drug is not available because of this, that or the other, not proven, too expensive, etc, etc…
To broaden the argument – Wales will get free prescriptions for everyone, every single one of them by 2007. In Scotland there are free eye tests for everyone and already in that country 92% of prescriptions are completely free. Bowel cancer screening in Scotland starts at a much earlier age – in England, screening starts a good 10 years later. It’s the tip of a health service iceberg – or in the case of England – a health ‘non-service’ iceberg…..
I sound bitter - and I am. During my Dad's last days a year ago, we bought stuff off the internet, from Canada - stuff that his Specialist reckoned could help him - but his local PCT couldn't and wouldn't supply. They also refused surgery, basically because they reckoned he was too old and 'inconvenient'
In the greater scheme of things, this stuff may have prolonged his life by a smidge or two - but who gave a damn, who cared? Certainly not his PCT. My Dad was 85, he was old, knackered, a busted flush.... He'd worked from the age of 14 straight through to 75 years of age, solid - and paid his taxes every single week of that time. He was never off ill - ever. During the war, he shovelled coal in the bowels of Royal Navy vessels knowing that if the ship got hit, he was a dead man...... So he fulfilled his part of the deal - and when he needed help, they let him down.
Still, if it saves a few quid - and he died a few weeks earlier than he was due - so what?