12,000 strokes a year could be avoided if medications were not rationed…

Sarah KnaptonThe Telegraph reports 15th November 2016: 12,000 strokes a year could be avoided if patients eligible for statins and other drugs were prescribed pills

Half of people who are eligible for statins are not prescribed the drug in a ‘missed opportunity’ which is contributing to 12,000 needless strokes a year, a study has shown.

Around one third of strokes could be prevented in Britain annually if cholesterol busting pills, anti-clotting drugs and medication to lower blood pressure were prescribed as intended.

Current recommendations by the health watchdog Nice suggest that anyone with a 20 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years should take statins. But research by the University of Birmingham found that just 49 per cent of those eligible were prescribed the drugs.

Similarly only 48 per cent of people with an irregular heartbeat were offered anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting while one in four patients with high blood pressure were not given pills to help…..

…The researchers estimate that approximately 12,000 first strokes could be prevented in the UK each year through optimal prescribing of the drugs. And the situation could be even worse because not all people who are prescribed drugs actually take them.

The research was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

….A report by University College London calls for the introduction of a “more humane” approach to drug funding, warning that spending in the UK is lagging badly behind that of other countries.

Researchers said “Kafkaesque” systems of NHS rationing meant too many sick patients were forced to face long battles to secure treatment which could prolong their lives.

Prof David Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy, said the values of the NHS were being “distorted and undermined” by systems which left the most vulnerable down.

He called for Britain to reform and simplify its rationing structures, and to increase the overall drugs budget, in line with other countries.

Britain spends less than one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on pharmaceuticals, around half that of other major industrial nations, the report says, with just 0.1 per cent of GDP devoted to anti-cancer drugs.

Meanwhile, up to two per cent of the UK’s GDP is spent on junk food, Prof Taylor said.

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This entry was posted in 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.

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