Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quality of life

We all get old and as we do the burden we can put on the Health service increases exponentially, not in every case of course, but as a generality it's pretty close to the mark. There was a time when doctors used to try and move heaven or earth to keep someone going long past a term my ex wife (a nurse) considered to be a quality of life, well that was until Liverpool Health devised the conveyor belt 'Care' pathway to off unfortunates. Unfortunately it's now getting worse, the NHS is considering denying anyone old necessary drugs if they aren't a productive member of society anymore.
Patients who have had a ‘fair innings’ could be denied life-saving drugs under proposed health reforms.
The plans would mean experts taking into account whether there is a ‘wider societal benefit’ to giving a patient crucial medicines.
The NHS rationing body, Nice, fears the Department of Health proposals could see younger people deemed a higher priority for drug treatments because they have more years ahead of them – potentially contributing more to the economy – than the elderly.
The reforms, which are being consulted on, would see new drugs assessed for the first time based partly on whether they would benefit society as a whole – not just the patient.
For example, a drug that helped people to live longer in an expensive care home, or on welfare, might have a ‘negative’ social value not outweighed by the benefit to the individual, because such patients take more from society than they can put back.
Not quite euthanasia, but certainly heading that way even if they would deny such a claim.
What I believe it should boil down to is that elusive quality of life, if the drug enables someone to live their life a bit better with all mental facilities intact then I don't believe societies needs should even be considered at all. This is someone who has probably contributed into the ponzi National Insurance scheme all their lives and is worth treating, not left on the scrap heap simply because they are 'inconvenient' or expensive.
As a libertarian I'm generally with Ayn Rand where it comes to individual rights...
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
Pensioners may not be a minority as a group but when it comes to the decision-making process they are effectively disenfranchised from it due to health and non working status. In other words people are deciding just who does and doesn't get the treatment they need at a level way above most of us and they are starting to prioritise only those who work.
Yet we're still told the NHS is the greatest thing in the world...
Getting harder to believe by the day since Labour's reforms allowed bean counters in to monitor every penny.

4 annotations:

Mr. Morden said...

This has been going on for years. Its just not been codified - yet !

If this is down to being a, 'productive member of society', does that also apply to people on benefits, both work and disability ?

You see, when government gets into what is in effect rationing, there is a sliding scale and, what many people may think may not apply to them yet, may soon apply if this logic is extended.

Oldrightie said...

Those firmly in first class gravy train seats will naturally be excluded.

Kath lissenden said...

I am of the frame of mind that personally I have no desire to be sat in a nursing home dribbling down my front and down my legs, more gaga than I am already not knowing what day it is and never recognising my family.I worked as a care home assistant for sometime and it was soul destroying.
However it is not the NHS nor indeed the governments right to decide my fate, my life is mine alone and who is to judge it's usefulness? My mother is 72 but you would never know it, she has worked all her life and contributed to the crippling cost of mismanaging this country.
She is still active politically and is a local councillor, she also hardly suffered a day's illness in her life.
How does one judge worthiness and value of an individual, no one has the right to decide whose life is worthy and whose is not.
As a previous commenter said will these rules then be applied to youngsters with cancer, those with mental health issues the list could go on indefinitely.
My partner would be on that list if that were the case , despite working since the age of 13 he is now to unwell to ever work again, so does that make him a drain and dispensable to the powers that be?
Not to me or his family we would be lost without him.
So who has the right to decide if someone's life is worthwhile other than the person themselves, and who would even want to draw up a criteria for this.

Dioclese said...

And how many time does your GP tell "It's your age. What do you expect?"

Well, actually, I expect to be treated. It's all very well saying the young will contribute more if we treat them and they live longer but what about all us poor bastards who already contributed?