Access to Hospital Emergency Services is seen as an important safety net in the rural areas. From Rhyl to Pembrokeshire there is protest, and these people are not exactly the affluent who can afford to buy choice. Access to chemotherapy and cancer therapies close to home is a bonus, and avoids the problems of travelling feeling sick or vomiting. If the outcomes are going to be much better by travelling then it might be sold to the public as being worth travelling an hour to get better treatments. This is not the case for most minor ailments and for cancer, but it is for Ischaemic Heart Disease and Neurosurgery. I have not heard the protesters saying that cardiac surgery or neurosurgery should be available in Rhyl or Haverfordwest. But there is some consolation in protest. If we wait too long we certainly cannot vote or protest!
Ernest Hemmingway in “Death in the Afternoon” describes the process of waiting for help and hoping that the injury wont kill you. Recently a friend attended the local hospital with 30 minutes chest pain across his chest shoulders and both sides of his body equally. The A&E attendance at 11.15 was followed by a 12 hour trolley wait. He might well have had a heart attack but in this area there is no quick access to cardiac surgery (Stent) and the standard treatment is clotbuster drugs. He could easily have made it to Swansea, our nearest cardiac surgery unit, in 12 hours! As it was he had “angina” and is on treatment – but he might easily have died and lost his “vote” on the future of our health services.
A fairer way to ration would be to demand that the affluent in the cities, who have speedy access to tertiary services, pay a premium for that greater service. They already earn more and pay higher taxes. Is that enough? A final thought, if the Welsh Assembly still existed, would these cuts and changes still have happened, albeit later? Would the post code lottery in Wales be as bad as it is?Devon has not got away with their experiment in overt rationing. Most rationing will have to be universal, and seen to be fair to those in rural areas, if we are to avoid civil unrest…..An example is Proton therapy (coming to the UK after it’s unavailability shamed successive governments) (Ashya King and Freya Bevan), available to none, except if the CCG changes its mind (media pressure) or the family/community raise voluntary funds. Another example is Parkinson’s disease (Antonia Bannister reports for the Coventry Telegraph 23rd Feb 2015: Anguish as Coventry grandfather is denied Parkinson’s ‘wonder-drug’ on NHS ) where post code rationing is rampant.. because victims don’t have a voice. Politicians, you do not have permission to experiment with privatisation, and pharmaceutical excess on your people…S
pend the money where it is efficient but ration overtly.
FINANCE: ‘Queues’ of clinical commissioning groups could have implemented controversial plans to restrict access to certain services had a high profile attempt at rationing in Devon been successful, a local commissioner has claimed.
David Jenner, chair of the eastern locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, said the group had been a “pit canary” for more radical NHS rationing, with CCGs around the country ready to follow suit if it had got its plans through.
In December NEW Devon announced plans to require obese patients to lose weight and smokers to stop smoking before they could have routine surgery…..