Today we hear that once again N I C E have refused to provide NHS kidney cancer patients with licensed cancer drugs for kidney cancer. Sometimes I despair of this NHS. In the same week that Gordon Brown announces that each cancer patient will receive a one to one care plan and home visits from nurses, the same cancer patients are told they will be refused treatment that is readily available throughout the rest of world. And not just Countries like the USA where insurance companies hold sway over who gets what, but countries like France and Germany and Sweden who operate social welfare systems. What is the UK doing wrong; why can’t we look after our own desperately ill cancer patients in the same they do in the parts of the EU. Will we ever achieve their high standards of care while UK patients are refused treatment with clinically effective and proven cancer drugs.
Perhaps someone from N I C E can explain their actions to the kindly people throughout England who run relays in aid of cancer research, who hold coffee mornings, who clean cars on Saturdays etc and do so because they want cancer patients in their communities to receive the best care possible and not condemned to die prematurely because the NHS can’t manage it’s own money despite the huge salaries they pay their administrators.
Afinitor, the drug are refusing to pay for to help kidney cancer patients, will cost less than £100 per day – last week a Director of Commissioning ( thats costing and buying services to you and me) for a PCT in London was offered a salary of £800 per day !!!!!!! .
Kidney Cancer patients are ill & many are desperately distressed by what they & their families are going through, but we are not stupid. We know that NHS funds are not infinite, but when for instance, someone ( who exactly? ) at the Department of Health can sign cheques for £40,000,000 ( forty million pounds) for legal contract advice about the NHS IT programme that doesn’t exist, how do we rationalise that to cancer patients who are told they are too expensive to treat ? Why do we tell patients their treatment is not a cost effective use of NHS resources when we have Health Authorities sitting on unspent surpluses in their annual accounts. Are cancer drugs are too expensive at £100 per day when we pay Directors of commissioning in PCT’s £800 per day ? Will we soon reach a time when the NHS will stop treating ” expensive” serious road traffic victims, will we stop offering “expensive” dialysis at £35000 pa ,who will say if heart or lung transplants and after care are too expensive?
I have a dear friend who has terminal cancer who said to me – “being told you have terminal cancer is not the worse thing in the world, far worse is being told there is a treatment that will help you but you can’t have it”. That is the reality kidney cancer patients are living and dying with. Do you want your Mum or Dad or son or daughter to spend the last few months of their life with these words ringing in their head. “You are not worth keeping alive” It is an unforgivable way to treat anyone let alone cancer patients and their families !!