Carrying on the thread from the post below about public funding for airport security, there is a related issue to do with the National Health Service. The one thing that most people in the UK are happy to contribute their tax pounds to must be the NHS. But it may not be prepared to come through with the goods when we need it to.
FFS, it’s spending comically inflated sums on a new computer system. Drugs that will give sight to the blind or another 5 years to people dying of kidney cancer are obviously too much of an expensive luxury after that.
Tony Wilson – former Granada TV presenter, creator of the independent Factory Records (Joy Division, et al) , styled “Mr Manchester” by fellow Granada TV presenter Gordon Burns – has kidney cancer. And lo, he finds that the NHS won’t pay for the drugs that would almost certainly give him 5 years more life.
The view expressed by his local health authority and National Institute for Clinical Excellence is that these drugs are too expensive (at over Â£2k) and aren’t a “cure”. Tony Wilson says that, although not a cure, the main doctors in the field regard them as essential. But obviously, Â£2k is too much to pay for one individual to live another half decade or more…
Well, Tony Wilson can pay, or his showbiz chums can pay for him. But, he is, unselfishly, campaigning for all the other patients who can’t come up with Â£2k to save their lives.
Similarly, there is a treatment for macular degeneration (age-related blindness) that is also considered too costly. So, if you suffer from macular degeneration, depending on where you live and whether you are already blind in one eye or not, it’s possible that you might get it. Then again, you may not.
This stuff is not even remotely rational. If the health service budget is stretched to its limits, take more money from us. Or, maybe try some more ruthless cost-cutting.
Like, don’t give Prozac to everyone who seems a little unhappy, for a start. Don’t lash millions of working computers and replace them with a multi-billion computer system designed to leak everyone’s personal information at will, but ready for the one occasion a year when you need to book someone from Dorset into a hospital in Aberdeen.
Some insignificant fragment of it is MY money, right? If I ever get kidney cancer or go blind, I’ll happily let the NHS use my computer, but I want the best treatments.
[tags]blindness, cancer, health, kidney cancer, national health service, nhs, public spending, medicine, tony wilson, Health Service[/tags]