In my role as a Shadow Health Minister, while it did not grab many headlines; it was extremely disappointing that a House of Lords amendment, which would have seen more patients able to access life-saving innovative medicines without delay was voted down by the Conservatives. I spoke in support of the proposed changes to the Government’s Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill, which I have been leading on for Labour.

Through both their failure to back this amendment and their recent changes to NICE, which could further delay access to new medicines, the Government is presiding over a system which leaves increasing numbers of patients in the heart-breaking situation of being unable to obtain innovative treatments which could save or extend their lives. It is also worth pointing out that this directly breaks the Conservative party’s 2015 manifesto promise to speed up the introduction of cost-effective medicines into the NHS.

Last week, even more promises were broken, as the new NHS England Plan, “Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View” confirms that the NHS does not expect to meet the A&E target, to see 95% of patients within 4 hours, which Jeremy Hunt described as being “critical for patient safety,” for at least the next year. It also sets out plans for another round of rationing of treatments and the abandoning of the 18 week waiting target for surgery.

Of course all of this leads up back to where I began with the fact that only an adequate financial settlement can deliver the health and social care service that we all want to see.

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One Comment

  1. Alan Rogers says:

    May I suggest a way of paying for the proposed life saving innovative medicine fund.
    Ask organised religion to set up a charitable trust (the religion industry is good at this) to fund religious care in NHS hospitals. This will save £20 million each and every year which will make a major contribution to the innovative medicine fund. Please note two things:-
    1) The provision of hospital chaplains is not a statutory requirement for hospitals. Ref. DoH.
    2) The NHS should employ chaplains in order to provide proper financial management, safeguarding and CRB checking. The NHS will facilitate chaplaincy the charitable trust will fund it.

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