Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dead Englishmen walking….

While NICE are today consigning ever more English people to an early grave, you’d think that someone, anyone might have something to say about it. But no, The King’s Fund, a charitable health service think-tank has assumed the position of a fence-sitting Pontias Pilot on a non decidey, hummy-harri, eeny meeny miney moey kind of day.

Today saw NICE doing what they do best, withdrawing more drugs from English chemists shops. This very expensive range of drugs (costing all of £2.50p per patient per day) are to be denied to English Alzheimer’s patients in early stages of the disease.

NICE has quoted lots of reasons for their bizarre decision, they say they can’t justify the cost of giving the drugs in England and Wales until it’s almost too late to be of any use. But apparently, the drugs are still being prescribed in great big free-for-all bags in Scotland – so that’s all right then.

According to their web site, The King's Fund aims to improve health and health care by developing policy, people and services. We work on a range of issues in a variety of ways. But all our work is characterised by our independent and objective approach; a commitment to social justice; and our desire to ensure we really do make a difference’) So that’s what we need, an in touch, no nonsense appraisal from an independent organisation, with added social justice balls. Surely, they would have something to say about this pernicious policy of health apartheid without end, within the NHS….

Unfortunately, they seem to be in denial, in la-la land, in a coma…. Last week, commenting on the story about some NHS patients in England deciding to buy their own drugs in order to save their own lives (because NICE will not fund them), Tony Harrison, a senior fellow in health policy at the King’s Fund made this joke of a comment. "The NHS is based on equal treatment for equal need…."

Maybe on the planet Scotland it is Tony, but in the drossage that is England, where life is worth less that £2.50p a day, you’d better not fall ill with Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Bowel Cancer or Multiple Myeloma unless you’ve got a whole stash of cash to finance it.

Expert Tony followed it up with this little gem – "This could mean you'd get a patient in one NHS bed who can't have the drug next to a patient in the next bed who can, and that would be so obviously inequitable."

To quote Richard Littlejohn, ’you couldn’t make it up’….

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