Cancer Post Code lottery makes my blood boil

First Minister Alex Salmond
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Scottish cancer drugs fund urged

News has just come up with story that Scotland should consider a cancer drugs fund, to help patients pay for treatment that is only available south of the border.

And I begin to wonder – do I live in the UNITED Kingdom – or in some dog-in-the-manger state that grabs benefits for some people whilst denying them to others?

Annabel Goldie has said cancer sufferers in Scotland are being “denied access to a range of drugs that can prolong life for some patients”.

The Rarer Cancers Foundation has published a list of at least 18 drugs that are available in England and not in Scotland.
Now, Scottish Conservatives have proposed setting up a Scottish cancer drugs fund to help patients in Scotland get these same drugs.

So First Minister Alex Salmond called on Ms Goldie to acknowledge that the Scottish Medicines Consortium, the body that ensures value for money in medicines procurement, is “a very robust system”.

He said: “It has been widely admired but it has very difficult decisions to make, because obviously resources are constrained in the health service, even though it has been protected by this administration.”

Well, having sat on committees where faceless people decide on QOLIs (quality of life outcomes), in other words, will they authorise money to be released to pay for a life-extending drug,  I know the decision is often NO.

Salmond excuses their decisions by saying “these decisions are made in the best interests of patients, but inevitably in any decision to authorise drug use there is always a resource issue as well. The balance of effectiveness against resources is always a difficult decision.”   And having sat opposite a great many of these decision-makers, I breathed a silent prayer that they never had my life in their hands.

But fear not, Mr Salmond has said “the Health Secretary is always prepared to discuss ideas and concepts that can improve the situation, and will meet with Ms Goldie to discuss her ideas”.

It is time for all good people to kick the Post Code lottery out of the system.  If you are British, you deserve to be treated equally, whether you live in the Channel Islands or the Outer Hebrides.  Didn’t we fight a war so that we could all remain equal?

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