Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 28, 2008

When will the barbarism stop?

October is coming to a close.

This month Professor Mike Richards, National Clinical director for cancer, will report to the Secretary of State for Health following a review of the consequences of additional private drugs for NHS care.

These are the terms of reference:

“1. To examine current policy relating to patients who choose to pay privately for drugs that are not funded on the NHS and who, as a result, are required to pay for the care that they would otherwise have received free on the NHS.

2. To make recommendations on whether and how policy or guidance could be clarified or improved.

3. In making recommendations, to take into account:

a. the importance of enabling patients to have choice and personal control over their healthcare; and
b. the need to uphold the founding principle of the NHS that treatment is based on clinical need not ability to pay, and to ensure that NHS services are fair to both patients and taxpayers.

The Review will take account of:

• the Government’s wider strategy for improving the quality and effectiveness of NHS services; and
• developing policy and practice arising from the NHS Next Stage Review and Constitution.”

When a patient accidentally severs two fingers but has to choose which one is sewn back on, purely because of financial constraints, then that patient lives in a land of barbarians.

When a drug that has the chance of preventing blindness can only be prescribed when one eye is already blind, that patient too, lives in a land of barbarians.

When a dying patient forfeits subsequent NHS care after paying for a drug that he hopes may give him/her a few months or a year of extra life, then that is a barbaric act of government.

They will say, of course: “It is not as straightforward as that”

We witches will say: “Bollocks!”

They will say: “We need to set up some kind of working group / committee / extravaganza to look into all the various implications.”

We witches will say: “Like hell you don’t.”

They will say: “We need to find some kind of consensus on this matter”

We witches will say: “You are supposed to be governing, Mr Brown. There is no consensus required for the termination of barbaric acts. They should be stopped. Just like that. You have it within your power to immediately, incisively and permanently put an end to this barbarism. If your Health Secretary chooses to have “A Review” rather than make an obvious decision, then you have to intervene and make that necessary decision for him on behalf of the country you both serve.”

By all means have “A Review” on rationing, and the post code lottery. These are totally separate issues.

And keep “Political Ideology” out of it too. You are twisting the “Foundling Principle” of the NHS into a rogue form that is making Aneurin Bevin’s bones rattle in his grave. This is about compassion and a duty of care to individual patients.

Mr Brown – just do what you have to do.

We witches are not pleading, nor are we asking.

We are telling you.

We trust you are reading this too, Mr Salmond.

This barbaric situation is ridiculous in a civilized country.


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