Health Reports and Health Issues...

Yours truly, freezing my behind off in Lagos in Portugal, all the heaters in the hotels were bursting and being tossed out into rubbish bins. Rob and I were frozen , well Rob wasn't because he is a hardy Scotsman - but I certainly was, so fleece jackets and scarves were the dress order of the day.
Hi Folks,

When I keyed into my site this morning I was quite surprised to see the undernoted post put there by margie's musings... Please understand that it took me a wee while to read it 'cos my mental agility is not what it was, plus the fact that I don't have the knowledge of the depth that is shown in the post, but anyway here goes, I will try and answer it as best I can from a 'civilian's perspective'.

Margie's Musings said...
Hey Kate, Some man left this post on my site about the the state of English health care. I was advocating it for America's health care crisis.What do you say about his post?Rare Cancer Victims 'Left To Die'Patients with rare cancers are being left to die because of a postcode lottery that decides who gets access to drugs, according to research from a cancer charity.Sadly, access to drugs came too late for Pamela Northcott, pictured left with her daughter Kate SpallThere are wide variations across England in the number of patients granted access to medicines, a study from the Rarer Cancers Forum found.The charity used the Freedom of Information Act to gain full information from 62 of England's 152 primary care trusts (PCTs).It revealed that 100% of applications from patients were rejected in some areas of the country while in other areas every single one was approved.A total of 96% of patients living in Mid Essex had their requests approved, while every one in neighbouring South West Essex had theirs rejected.Overall, one in four exceptional requests for cancer treatment were denied - about 1,314 patients in total."The NHS should be available to all who need it," said the charity's chief executive, Penny Wilson-Webb.1,300 cancer patients have been denied the treatment that could have made all the difference to them. This audit shows that the exceptional cases process is in chaos and patients are suffering.Penny Wilson-Webb - Rarer Cancer ForumsThousands of cancer patients had been forced to plead for their lives since October 2006, the time covered by the survey, she pointed out."There has to be a better way," she added. "We urge the Government to accept our 10 point plan to end this bizarre and demeaning lottery."According to the Forum, between 30% and 50% of all cancer cases could be classified as "rarer", falling outside the common cancers such as colon, breast, lung and prostate.A cancer may be classed as "rarer" either because it affects an unusual site in the body, or because the cancer itself is of an unusual type, is difficult to diagnose, or requires special treatment.This latest report comes after last week's rejection by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence of four drugs last that treat advanced kidney cancer.The Department of Health insists that funding for treatments "should not be withheld solely because Nice guidance is not available, but that decisions should be made on the basis of the available evidence".I guess your friends across the pond forgot to tell you about these horror stories.
12 August 2008 19:12

Now Firstly, can I explain that I live in Scotland, which is a part of the U.K. not England, a few years ago it was decided that the 'areas of the United Kingdom would be split into working as devolved units '. That is, Scotland, Wales and to a certain extent Ireland - Anyway, that meant that Scotland, (which is the one I know most about) would have it's own government running it's own affairs - part of which is 'Health' now the only problem was that we only have so much of a budget, to run things... There have been some improvements made but only so much can be done - the coffers are finite and we are still dependant on Westminster for funding as we don't yet have the facility of tax raising powers.

Politics being what it is, means that things move slowly.... I hope that in time each of the parts will really run their own affairs, in the meantime, it is grinding along and some of the benefits have already been seen in Scotland and there is a bit of unrest in England about the benefits the citizens in Scotland already have that they don't...

Terms like Postcode Lottery and Rare Cancer Victims Left to Die sound to me like Newspaper editor/reporter speak. Our National Health Service was and still is creaking and bursting at the seams and I think it is easy for some people to make cracks and comments, it's harder to sort it all out. God knows how it will be sorted out, whether or not in 10 years time we will still have some kind of Health Service is debatable.

What I do know is it will never be the case when everyone is able to be cured, that is totally impractical - I know from experience what it is like to watch folk going through the horrors of cancer as is it only three months since my life-long pal died. The thing is that for years doctors have been making decisions about who should get drugs and who doesn't - to that extent medicines are a 'kind' of lottery... but there's more to it than that.

Let me explain by telling you that 15 years ago my sister had Lymphoma, she was going to die if she didn't get a transplant, all her siblings were tested to see who was a match, guess who won ? yeah me - I was her bone marrow donor... Now her next door neighbour had the same cancer, but he was 10 years older. The transplant and aftercare for one patient cost at that time - One Hundred and Ten Thousand Pounds. Naturally the doctors thought about it, made the decision and 'D' got her transplant. So not everyone can have the facility of the same drugs.

There was a story in our press the other day about a man who had been attending hospital for some time and had lots of tests , the medical people had come up with the fact that some kind of disease was showing on his lung. The doctors operated and the lung , after they removed it and examined it, showed no disease.... He is now complaining that he is now disabled to an extent and if anything were to happen to his other lung - well ? If you think about it though, he would have been a hellova lot worse if the doctors hadn't operated, and there had been a tumour, know what I mean. I know that America has a compensation problem where Doctors are sued and we in this country seem to be going the same way. I'm not sure whether this is a good step.

My Lord, this is some loooooong post, the upshot is I haven't a scoobie what the right way of dealing with health problems in the less moneyed folk is, but at the moment I am glad I live in Scotland 'cos as well as it being God's country, I love haggis and neeps and also the tartan. I feel as though I have gone round in circles, I hope some of this made sense Margie, cheers for now.

Love and Best Wishes from The Land of the Tartan, Kate xxx.

P.S. Thanks Judy for the wee animal, I don't know where you get them, I just love them so I snuck it out of your site - it reminds me of someone erm... I wonder who ? Hope you don't mind... Kate x.