Saturday, April 3, 2010

About time

NICE, a harmless seeming acronym for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, they're the people who weigh and measure our health in England and decide if the treatment cost justifies whether or not it's worth keeping you alive. A death panel in other words. They're mostly notorious for denying cancer drugs in England that are available in Scotland and Wales. For instance many cancer medicines which are widely available in Europe, such as the bowel cancer drug, Bevacizumab, and the kidney cancer drug, Sorafenib, are not available in the England. France gives out on average 1,600 mg of Bevacizumab per bowel cancer case, compared to virtually none in the England. Some of the more expensive drugs which have been approved by NICE are used less than in other countries, the figures show. Patients are 20 per cent more likely to be given the breast cancer drug Herceptin on average in Europe than in England, 50 per cent more likely if they live in France or Spain.

Telegraph.

Cancer sufferers in England will get access to drugs refused approval by a NHS watchdog if the Conservatives win the general election, David Cameron has announced. 

Patients are currently subject to a national system of rationing, which means they are routinely refused treatments for breast, colon, kidney and lung cancer which are available free in other countries.
David Cameron pledged that any patient with the disease should be allowed any drug licensed in the last five years, if their doctor seeks it, even if the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has ruled against its use. 
The manifesto commitment means thousands of people could secure medications which are now rarely prescribed on the NHS, despite the fact they can extend lives by months and even years.
Mr Cameron said: "Other European countries are doing better than us at giving people longer, happier lives with cancer.
"We want to get more drugs to people more quickly and in the UK today there are some people – thousands of people – who want a certain cancer drug, whose doctors tell them they should have a certain cancer drug, who don't get it."
He said the costs of paying for the drugs would be met by the £200 million which the NHS stands to save from the Conservatives' decision not to go ahead with Labour's planned 1 per cent rise in National Insurance.
Finally a decision of Cameron that I fully agree with. Hopefully it will be put into practice if the Tories get elected. Still as we all know (at least according to Labour) Manifesto promises are not subject to legitimate expectation. However this isn't labour we're talking about and it does make a change from the "sour little Englanders" position Cameron has taken in the past. Perhaps he's realising where his real power will reside, will make a change for politicians in Westminster to finally put England on a level footing.

 

2 annotations:

tris said...

Nice seems to be very tight with the money.

I understand that there are many drugs which will only postpone death by a matter of months, and to be honest, I wouldn't much care for my life being extended so that I could lie in pain in a hospice, but I accept that I'm not everyone, and people should be given the choice. ....As they have in my country and in Wales and France ....etc.

As for manifesto promises. No, they aren't always doable. It depends on your majority (or in the case of our government, minority.

There are, to be fair to Cameron, things that he would like to do, but he won't know the true state of the books till he walks into No 10 and faints!

But let's hope that he keeps his promises to you guys about health, and to the Uk in general about some of the decent things that he's going to get around to concerning OAPs. I've watched with interest all the things he's criticised Cyclops for over the last few years. It will be interesting to see how many of these he actually actions when he has to take responibility for them....and the dosh!

Quiet_Man said...

Yes, in the end it's always about the money.