The PostCode lottery in cancer – revisited

Marc Macaskill reports in The Sunday Times 30th March 2014: Scots seeking cancer drugs still face ‘postcode lottery’ As the smaller Mutuals (Wales, Scotland and N Ireland) are seen to fail relative to the larger English Mutual, frontier issues will arise more and more. Instead of being issues relating to free prescriptions or choice of specialist, they could be between life and death… 

FRESH concerns have been raised that cancer patients in Scotland are being denied potentially life-extending drugs because of where they live.

Consultants warn that a postcode lottery in treatments still exists despite attempts by the Scottish government to ensure that newly licensed medicines which have not been recommended for general use by NHS Scotland are available to patients on a case- by-case basis.

Dr Noelle O’Rourke, chair of the consultants’ committee at the renowned Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, said patients with colorectal cancer are among the worst affected, with those in the west of Scotland being denied access to drugs that are available to patients in Edinburgh.

In a letter to the Scottish parliament’s health and sport committee, which is investigating access to medicines, she warns that drugs for breast, gynaecological, and urological cancers “have also been difficult to access”…..

Sarah-Kate Templeton and Jon Ungoed-Thomas   report 30th March 2014: Wait for cancer test can be 4 or 40 days

….Data from NHS England reveals that patients at some hospitals are waiting more than 13 weeks for tests that can diagnose cancer. There can be further delays of three weeks or more for the results……

If only they’d sent Jake for a scan – He was only 24 when he died on Christmas Eve. Jake McCarthy’s mother is urging GPs to learn the vital lessons of a family tragedy

This entry was posted in Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “The PostCode lottery in cancer – revisited

  1. Pingback: New drug brings hope for millions of migraine sufferers | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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