Free Prescriptions for Rationed Drugs

Gordon Brown’ popularity is at an all-time low. The Labour Party looks to walloped at the next General Election.

At Labour’s annual party conference, Brown needed to pull a rabbit out of hat to try to revitalise his prospects, particularly to ward off challenges within his own party. There’s nothing Socialists like better than giving away something paid for by someone else’s money.

Gordon will be giving free prescriptions to cancer patients. Sounds really good doesn’t it? Well, the Scots are already phasing out charges and the Welsh have already abolished them. So really, Gordon is giving free prescriptions to English cancer patients.

If you live in the States, you may realise how expensive cancer drugs can be. In England, they cost £7.10 a bottle. Everything costs £7.10 a bottle. So you’re thinking, wow, from $14.00 per prescription to free – not bad a deal.

It’s not a bad deal as long as you can get the drugs you need. Gordon never said he would pay for all cancer patients. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will still control which drugs are available. It will continue to work out its matrices and decide whose life is worth saving and whose isn’t. Some cancers and cancer patients are worth treating and some aren’t. That’s the reality of socialised medicine. That’s the reality Gordon Brown can’t do anything about.

And if you are in the States you may think, well, that’s just Britain; nothing like that can happen here. That’s the reality Barak Obama won’t be able to do anything about, if he gets Hillary’s way.

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Left to Die

If someone’s going to go an kill a baby in the womb, they ought to at least do it properly. The NHS apparently isn’t do such a good job.

That doesn’t mean these babies born alive are allowed to continue living.  They are just left to die. Sounds particularly barbaric, doesn’t it?

It’s Not All Bad

They say if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. This is clearly a policy to which I rarely adhere, as my wife if often keen to point out. About no topic is this more true than the National Health Service.

As I recently noted in a comment to another post, I have had good orthopedic (or orthopaedic, depending on where you are reading this) care. I know that when it comes to this specialty (or speciality, again depending on where you are) I am winner in the postcode lottery, but there you go. To that I would have to add emergency care.

This afternoon I tripped in the kitchen and didn’t have the sleeve of my prosthesis pulled up. As I fell forward, I left it behind. All 14 stone came down on my stump. (Yes, 14 stone – I ate, as they say in this country, all the pies.) I almost passed out from the pain.

My wife called an ambulance. They arrived very promptly and provided very good care in getting me to hospital. I don’t think this was affected by me telling them that not only had I formerly been an ambulance driver (as a volunteer during my college days) , but also a lawyer.

Once in the A&E (as they call the ER here), they put some ice on it to keep the swelling down and gave me some pain medicine. After time for both to work, I was wheeled into X-ray and within minutes I was looking at the pictures on a computer screen with the advantage of digital zoom. There appears to be no fracture.

I was home within two hours of the incident. Even though the bone appears to be intact, I can’t take any weight or even pressure on it. Hopefully I will be able to walk by Monday.

Babies Playing the Postcode Lottery

The debate in Parliament over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has provided the opportunity to members to present amendment to either liberalise or further restrict abortions. There is a big push amongst some MPs and in certain outlets of the MSM to reduce the number of gestational weeks during which an abortion can be procured for social reasons. It is currently at 24 weeks, having been reduced from 28 week in 1990.

But that’s all over the news. You don’t need me to tell you something you can read anywhere. What I didn’t know is that there are only 180 neo-natal units in this country. That’s roughly one for every 333,000 people.  As you would expect, they are not evenly distributed. It’s another example of the NHS postcode lottery.

If you get yourself to University College Hospital in London, your baby has one of the best chances of survival in the country. In the years just after the legislation was amended to it’s current state, 1991-95 the rate of survival for babies born at 23 weeks was 44%. It has risen since then. At 24 weeks, over the same periods, survival rose from 50% to 81%.

Live where there is no unit and the outlook isn’t so good.  Sometimes even the right postcode doesn’t help. As reported in the Daily Telegraph, “according to a National Audit Office report each unit had to close its doors an average of 52 times during 2006-07.” Even if those closures were for only one day at a time, that’s still an average of once a week. Chances are that at least in some cases, the closures were for longer.

Given these problems with the health service, it is surprising that the survival rate for neo-nates is as high as it is. It is not surprising that the rates are higher in other countries.

Dying for Socialised Medicine

A lot of Brits I talk to can’t understand why Americans don’t flock to Hillary Clinton because of her favourable views about socialised medicine. After all, there’s nothing Brits are more proud of than the NHS.

Sure Britain has some of the worst survival rates for cancer in the Western world, but no one has to worry about paying for it. But as they say, you get what you pay for.

Socialised medicine in a country divided up into Primary Care Trusts (PCT) equals the post code lottery. In other words, each trust decides how it’s going to divide up it’s little slice of the health care funding pie. Each local board of bureaucrats prioritises which patients deserve to live and which ones don’t. In a rationed system, a few people get paid a lot of money to play Lifeboat every day.

When it comes to cancer, I’ve drawn one of the short straws. To preserve my anonymity, I won’t say exactly how much is spent per cancer patient per year here. I will tell you that the top spending PCT spends three times as much as the lowest. I could say that my PCT spends less that £10,000 per patient per year, but out of 159 PCTs, only 39 spend more. No, my PCT is comfortably in four figures and comfortably in the bottom 10%.

I suppose I can’t afford to stop eating my fruit and veg and grains. You can’t afford to elect Hillary.