Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This Sceptered Isle - Part CLXXXIV [UPDATED]

"Caroline Cassin, 29, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has been offered a new drug free of charge for a limited period by the makers but her NHS hospital is refusing."
Why would that be?

One must read to the very end of the article  to find out.
"The trust decided not to obtain Kalydeco on a compassionate basis because the drug company scheme is temporary and the trust would face withdrawing the medication when the scheme stops."
So is the issue how best to provide life-preserving patient care?  Is the issue how to save money for the NHS hospital trust?  Is the issue how to protect the hospital trust from political fallout?

Whatever the answers, I think this is how so-called "death panels" work in real life.  They don't march in and command "off with your head".  Instead, they work quietly, in private; they employ trusted physicians and other medical professionals under the authority of government who decide whether to block certain types of medical care from certain patients.  This saves money without the ugly and potentially distasteful public task of later having to withdraw that medical care from the unfortunate patients.  

Innocuous . . . really.  And fair.  Right?

UPDATE [We get results!]:

"Medical Director for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Since our last statement we have continued discussions with the company Vertex who produce the drug Kalydeco.
 Following these discussions, we are very pleased to announce that they have taken the decision to offer the treatment on a compassionate basis to named patients, without limiting the offer to a fixed period of time."
Removing the time limit means the hospital (Trust) will not face public calumny on account of withdrawing the treatment at the end of some fixed treatment period.

Ironic, isn't it, that public calumny was necessary to move the hospital trust - and the drug maker - to this decision?

Also worth noting that public opinion still counts for something - even in a quasi-socialist nation like UK.
blog comments powered by Disqus