Tuesday, June 03, 2008

NHS denies treatment to dying grandmother

Cranmer thought that a founding principle of the NHS was that it should be ‘free at the point of need’. It is ‘not as a privilege to be paid for, but a fundamental human right’. But it now seems that ‘need’ is being reasoned by bureaucrats and that some have more rights than others.

This is Linda O’Boyle, deceased. She was a retired health worker and had dedicated her life to healthcare. Her husband was also an NHS manager for 30 years, and both have paid their taxes diligently, including the increasingly-extortionate National Insurance. And then Mrs O’Boyle was diagnosed with colon cancer.

She had been receiving state-funded treatment, including chemotherapy, but could not obtain the life-prolonging drug Cetuximab on the NHS. She therefore paid £11,000 for it privately, and her husband credits this drug with Mrs Boyle’s three extra months with her three sons and four grandchildren.

But the decision to purchase this drug privately, notwithstanding that there was no alternative means of obtaining it, caused the NHS to withdraw the treatment she was receiving. In fact, the O’Boyles originally asked the NHS to provide the drug and offered to pay the NHS whatever it cost them to buy it, but this was refused. Her local health trust then compounded her stress by forcing her to pay for the care she had previously been receiving courtesy of all those taxes she had paid throughout her life.

Mrs O'Boyle is believed to be the first person to die after being denied free care because of the 'co-payment' prohibition, where a patient desires to top-up treatment by paying privately for extra drugs. It appears that ‘top-up’ fees, while demanded by law in the state’s provision of education, are prohibited by law in the state’s provision of health. A patient may either have treatment under the NHS or privately, but not both in parallel.

The ‘co-payment’ option was blocked by Health Secretary Alan Johnson because he claimed ‘it would create a two-tier Health Service’.

Well, it appears that there is already a two-tier health service:

Firstly, Cetuximab is available on the NHS in Scotland. The English are subsidising this through the Barnett formula.

Some NHS trusts provide drugs and services that others do not; some charge for things that are free elsewhere; some patients have to travel hundreds of miles for treatment, while others are treated locally.

If Mrs O’Brien had been abusing her body through illegal drug use, the NHS would have prescribed her all the treatment she would have needed for rehabilitation. Those who pay for illegal drugs are not deprived of NHS services, so why should someone be deprived of treatment for purchasing legal drugs?

Thousands upon thousands of immigrants from the EU make use of the NHS every year. They do not need to have paid a penny in UK taxes, and the service is free at the point of need.

It seems that in New Labour's two-tier NHS, the rich are deprived of the services that are freely enjoyed by the poor.

But there is a more important dimension to this tragic story, and it is to do with the founding principles of the NHS. Life is foundational to the entire enterprise of medicine. Its importance is reinforced throughout Scripture: not only is murder prohibited, but so is a detailed list of life-threatening injuries (Exod 21:12-36). Jesus healed because he cared.

A National Health Service is supposed to care; it is supposed to heal; it is supposed to inspire hope for life. In short, it is supposed to express love. Yet this petty ‘co-payment’ prohibition emanates from the spiteful heart of a callous government which subsumes care and compassion to bureaucracy and ‘equality’. If all cannot afford it, then those who can shall be deprived of it.

The NHS was founded in every local community to express Christian concern for the poor and to bring justice. But it has become a centralised, distant and inflexible beast that has ceased to care about what it means to be human. Love understands and empathises, and exhorts people to do good that others might be built up (1Cor 8:1; Gal 6:10). The NHS was supposed to be the embodiment of the Good Samaritan who follows the way of love (1Cor 14:1) because it is ‘the most excellent way’ (12:31). It brought to an end the age in which the poor were left to die in the streets, and children died for want of a simple inoculation.

But now it aborts and kills; it hurts and alienates. It truly beggars belief that any man or woman with a feeling heart would purposely deprive someone who was dying of a treatment which it was within their power to give.

Especially if the only hindrance is spiteful, petty bureaucracy and unjust, Marxist centralisation.


Blogger botogol said...

this has been brewing for a while - it's an idiotic policy with all sorts of bad consequences. I know a family with a sick child being treated (well) at Gt Ormond St, who are forced to clog up their local hospital waiting hours for the minor blood-tests et al, that come with the treatment, between visits to Gt Ormond St. Can they have those simple things done at a private clinic (at their own expense of course)? No. If they were to do that they would lose access to Gt Romond St. Senseless.

3 June 2008 at 09:20  
Blogger Prodicus said...

Excellent piece. This tragic woman's name should become a permanent thorn in the side of this misbegotten, statist government.
(BTW - typo in Para 10 - the lady's name).

3 June 2008 at 10:12  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace,

Bang on the money. Maybe I should rephrase that.

Johnson's (lack of) moral value is now exposed for all to see.

What would you trust this man with?

3 June 2008 at 10:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disgraceful, not made any better by the irony that " She was a retired health worker and had dedicated her life to healthcare. Her husband was also an NHS manager for 30 years..."

With the lack of local NHS dentists I underwent an expensive course of private dentistry; should I have my teeth attacked by local yobs can I expect to be turfed out of A & E when they spot the superior handywork ?

3 June 2008 at 11:03  
Blogger Tomrat said...

Your Grace,

This is obscene: when you have politico's using strongarm tactics to get best treatment from the NHS to get the best for themselves, their family and even their friends (which Patty Hewitt did when she was health minister) whilst the rest of us are forced to cope with squalor, poor conditions and poorer funding.

It should be pointed out that the existence of a two tier health service is not abolished; the gap is merely bigger - it is now the VERY poor and the VERY, VERY rich.

To be honest patient buy-in is something that should be encouraged; investment in medical care is what improves it and makes it cheaper for all.

3 June 2008 at 13:17  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

One of your best ever posts your Grace.

3 June 2008 at 13:42  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Anon 11.03am

Nice one too!

3 June 2008 at 13:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did not this government bring in a law dealing with "Corporate Manslaughter", sounds perfect for Johnson and his "advisers?".

3 June 2008 at 13:57  
Anonymous Martin said...

I agree with Unsworth. Alan Johnson is a dangerous and destructive force whose main aim is to further his warped ideology. And to think that he would be a front runner for the Labour leadership should Gordon Brown stand down or be kicked out.

3 June 2008 at 14:07  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

This is just what you would expect from a labour government. You have to do exactly as you are told, you are not allowed to help yourself, if you do you will be punished.

The most nasty government we have ever had. they are not interested in people only their own power over people.
God help us.

3 June 2008 at 16:38  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Further to my previous.

This is the best piece you have published. it brought tears to my eyes after reading it fully, at the lack of humanity from this Labour government. I dispise them and all they have done to our people in only 10 years.

3 June 2008 at 16:44  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
this story is tragic , even more so because as you say paid her taxes and her career.

i would add also that even as i type , the terrible treatment of the english elderly in homes and the hiding of deaths so as not to reveal dirty badly manged hospitals makes me shudder .

the hospital chapel has become a multifaith room , the profession turned into sensative pr speak , the ensuring that the figures are right rather than the patient on the mend , alarming .

whilst labour may lay claim to putting more money than ever into the nhs , it has refused to do its homework , wasted millions , and managed to kell off free denistry with out a squeak .

only 24 hrs to save the NHS looks a bit of dud

3 June 2008 at 17:22  
Anonymous John said...

Born on the 5th July 1948, birth free.

TB at age 7 years, treatment free and survived.

Meningitis at 16, treatment free and survived.

A charmed life, no the NHS, the dreams of my forefathers, certainly there are problems, but there is so much good.

On the question of health your Grace, how is the hand these days.

3 June 2008 at 19:07  
Anonymous Voyager said...

A GP is forbidden from treating any NHS patient on his list privately under the new contract....the system has become absurd largely because of rationing drugs....it should not have been necessary for this lady to have purchased life-saving drugs privately

3 June 2008 at 19:46  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

It is all very sad. I wonder, did she and her family know that by paying for this drug she would be denied treatment?

3 June 2008 at 22:20  
Anonymous judith said...

Perhaps the Health Secretary is not aware that if you need spectacles, you must pay for them (and unless exempt, for the eye test beforehand); even when treated by an NHS dentist, the non-exempt must make a sizeable contribution to the treatment.

Plus, of course, payment per item on a prescription (unless exempt).

So Mr Johnson's veto is not also unethical in the extreme, it is also illogical.

Just about sums up this Government.

3 June 2008 at 23:15  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

I believe I can shed some light on the logic behind this your grace.

Not only have the Establishment Lib Lab Cons Sold out Our Sovereignty to the EUSSR but
they have also sold us to the Global Elite, Everything about us, including our DNA.
This explains why the NHS is now promoting Euthenasia.

One way to think of this is that with so many other Worker bees' why should the Corporate Elite waste time and resources on someone who is seriously ill.
This also explains the treatment of our Elderly, they are at the end of their lives, they are of no further use, Strip them of their assets, IE force them to sell off their homes to pay for care, then dispose of them as quickly as possible.

Birth Certificates.

Corporate Law

Farming the Populace.

I believe that our Governing Establishment think of us as nothing more than disposable assets
and appear to have altered our laws to that effect.

This explains why children are better treated, obviously they have profitable (for our Corporate Masters ) lives ahead of them.

3 June 2008 at 23:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

adrian p

You got it mate, and don't doubt it for one single second.


5 June 2008 at 01:11  
Anonymous Third Party said...

My children have had some private maths tuition, perhaps they should no longer be allowed to attend school?

I have a burglar alarm, perhaps I should not be allowed to call the police?

What a ridiculous policy to cut off help from those who contribute towards helping themselves.

Your point about illegal drugs is very well made.

5 June 2008 at 14:12  

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