Government will decide who gets what treatment.
Maybe health care is not actually a “right” (as government told us once upon a time) after all.
“Drug rationing” is the order of the day in Britain’s NHS. Maybe the actual “right” we have is for drug rationing.
Barbara Moss, 56, from Worcester, became one of the most high-profile cases to be refused drugs by the NHS after she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
After doctors said that without Avastin she would only live for a matter of months, her 86-year-old mother gave her funds to pay for the drugs.
More than four years later, the former schoolteacher is “climbing mountains and enjoying every moment” of life.
Her case, featured in The Sunday Telegraph, was among several to trigger a public outcry about the way NHS rationing decisions are made, resulting in a Conservative party election manifesto pledge last year to set up the £200 million drugs fund.
But this newspaper’s investigation has raised serious concerns over its operation, including:
* At least 86 cases involving terminally-ill patients being turned down;
* Extreme variations in access to drugs, with one NHS region promising free access to more than three times as many cancer treatments as another;
* Local policies so restrictive that in many parts of the country, consultants are expected not to even bother asking for drugs which are not on the “priority lists”.
In its first four months, the fund has paid for approximately 1,300 patients’ drugs – even though research last March suggested up to 20,000 cancer patients’ lives were being shortened each year by drugs rationing.
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