Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nasty NICE

So today saw the news that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence had refused NHS use of the liver-cancer drug Sorafenib, on the grounds that the cost of the medication means treatment is not worthwhile.

And of course, the news media were all over this story of nasty NICE, finding several sufferers who'd been saved by the medication and decrying the decision as a death sentence to cancer victims.They say that this sort of decision, putting a Sterling value on human life, should not happen in our society. And, of course, they're right.

And naturally, in the interests of balance, the media then interview the man with probably the worst job in the whole world - the spokesman for nasty NICE. While being treated with the grace and courtesy normally reserved for mass murderers and Gary Glitter, the poor man stammers through a prepared set of answers to explain that they have to make these hard decisions, they can't approve everything that everyone would need because the NHS budget simply couldn't cope with it. And, of course, they're right.

The positions of both sides of the debate are equally correct and, sadly, equally valid. The National Health Service cannot afford to prescribe the latest and greatest of everything, and likewise those with ailments should not lose their chance at survival simply because of the NHS's need to cut costs.

So, as so often, I would like to offer a solution to the problem.

If there's no money to buy new drugs, then clearly we need to make more money available. And as Gollum and Eyebrows have bankrupted not just the NHS but the entire nation, no more cash can be found to increase budgets - so instead, let's look internally.

Healthcare is about one thing, and one thing only - treating the sick. So there need only be two divisions, therefore -those who are directly involved in the treating of the sick, and those who directly manage those who treat the sick. If you don't do either of those, you're gone.

If you're doing surveys about the satisfaction of Muslim single mothers with the provision of halal food on the Maternity ward - you're not needed, you're fired. Go and work for Ipsos Mori and do surveys for them. If you spend your days poring over graphs showing the demographic, racial and religious backgrounds of the Trust car-park attendants, your salary is a waste of budget and you're sacked. If you're a 'small-c' consultant designing a new tagline for the Fundamental Acute Primary Healthcare NHS Hospital Trust - you're superfluous. You're gone. People go to hospital to be treated, NOT because the local A&E has a slogan rivalling Coca-Cola's. Go and work for Saatchi.

If your job title includes any of the words Diversity, LGBT, Patient Rights, Social Justice or Liaison, then please do the decent thing for the NHS and bugger off. The job of the NHS is to treat the sick, not to provide make-work jobs for people who wear sandals and agonise over whether naming the cafeteria 'Friends of . . ' is somehow discriminatory to the lonely.

Sorafenib apparently costs £2,200 per month. Get rid of the deadwood, and you'll improve the quality of life for all those people and many more besides. I commend the idea to the House.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Clinical Unit for Not Treating the Sick live up to their name yet again.