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Private Eye

November 11, 2010

Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1275
Filed under: Private Eye — Tags: — Dr. Phil @ 4:35 pm

Neutering NICE

The demotion of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) from NHS head-teacher to somewhere between a dinner lady and a classroom assistant caught the quango by surprise. An e mail sent by chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon to NICE committee members suggests he wasn’t in the loop: “I am sorry that speculation on the future of the appraisal programme has appeared without me being able to forewarn you. We were also taken by surprise.”1 But the neutering of NICE started with health secretary Andrew La-La Lansley’s pre-election pledge of a cancer drugs fund to pay for drugs that doctors and cancer patients wanted, but NICE didn’t think were cost effective for the NHS. If NICE’s judgements can so easily be bypassed by one politician, there is no point in making them mandatory for the rest of the NHS.

In 2006, as chair of the NICE conference, MD invited then shadow health secretary Lansley to say: ‘There is, and has to be, rationing in the NHS.’ (Eye 12.12.06 ). He duly obliged, and the NICE hierarchy relaxed, safe in the assumption that they had devised the fairest system for rationing the NHS had ever seen,

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October 29, 2010

Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1274
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 9:58 am

Failing Children (again and again)

Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Professor Emeritus of Child Health at University College London and former National Clinical Director for Children and Children’s Commissioner for England, has written to the Eye to expose the continued neglect of children in the NHS: ‘We have failed, are still failing and are likely to continue failing far too many children and young people through inadequate health services’.

‘Ten years ago, the Bristol Inquiry was cataclysmic in its condemnations (1), saying that children had been the ‘Cinderella’ service in the NHS for far too long. Lord Laming’s equally devastating conclusions followed from his Inquiry into child protection triggered by the murder of Victoria Climbie (2). Both uncovered the care of children being subordinated to the demands of adult services; lack of concern for vulnerable individuals; failure to protect children’s rights; quality of care less than it should be; failure of communication, effective planning and partnerships with professionals and parents, and lack of responsibility for children with ineffective leadership.’

‘Even before the financial crisis, the UK ranked bottom of the 21 richest countries for the well being of children. (3,4) Sir Michael Marmot’s recent review (5) on health inequalities documents highlighted

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October 27, 2010

NHS Trust tries (and finally fails) to ‘divert’ £1 million of a cancer charity’s assets
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 2:27 pm

Breast cancer centre can open its doors as battling charity worker beats NHS

A charity worker’s seven year long fight to open a centre to provide therapy for breast cancer survivors and their families will finally be won next week, despite a hospital trust’s bid to misappropriate almost £1M of the charity’s assets.

The Primrose Centre in Bromley, Kent will open its doors for the first time on November 11, bringing to an end veteran charity fundraiser Mary Spinks’ long struggle against the bureaucrats of the NHS and Department of Health.

Whilst Mary Spinks, 63, fought to provide a support service helping up to 80 people a week when fully operational, the NHS sought to appropriate the charity’s assets to help balance the books of Bromley’s ailing hospital trust.

The saga began in 2003 when the then Bromley Hospital NHS Trust sold redundant hospital land to a developer. The land included a former hospital chapel built in 1864 which Mary Spinks persuaded the developer to donate as the future home for the breast cancer centre.

A charitable foundation created by Mary Spinks under the umbrella of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Funds became the chapel owner and she began

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October 26, 2010

Should people in Warwickshire move to Birmingham for a new hip? The Health Service Journal picks up on my NHS Warwickshire post
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 5:35 pm

Good to see the HSJ picking up my story. And the comments are interesting too. Is it legal? Is it ethical? What happens if the money still runs out? What would Bevan do?

PCT halts funding for over 30 procedures to ‘remain sustainable’
26 October, 2010 | By Steve Ford

A Midlands primary care trust has halted funding for a raft of routine procedures, including cataract removal and hip replacements, in order to remain financially viable over the winter.

Until now PCTs have largely made small scale attempts to cut back on actual services offered, for example NHS Warrington ceased funding most IVF treatment last month. However, NHS Warwickshire has written to provider organisation chief executives outlining two lists of non life threatening procedures that it says will either no longer be funded permanently or temporarily – following discussion with its clinical executive committee.

The list of nine permanently banned procedures includes acupuncture, epidurals for back pain and oral vaccination against hay fever. The second list – of more than 20 procedures halted until the end of the financial year – includes new IVF treatment cycles, all routine elective orthopaedic operations, and secondary care back pain management.


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October 25, 2010

NHS Rationing in Warwickshire
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:39 am

Explicit rationing in the NHS is no bad thing. When he was shadow health secretary, I made Andrew Lansley stand on stage at the NICE conference and say: ‘There is and has to be rationing in the NHS.’ He’s now hoping GP Consortia will do it for him, but NHS Warwickshire is ahead of the game, announcing a list of treatment restictions ‘to manage demand in the acute sector.’ However, there’s no mention of any patient consultation in drawing up this list. Whatever happened to no decision about me without me?

Westgate House
Market Street
CV34 4DE

Tel: 01926 493491

Fax: 01926 495074
8th October 2010

Birmingham & West Birmingham NHST
Management Centre
Dudley Road
B18 7QH

Dear Chief Executive

As you know, throughout this year we have seen continual and significant increases in the demand
for acute services across Warwickshire. In response we have taken action to refresh treatment
policies, remind clinicians of their content and extend the range of services in the community. This
has not had a significant enough impact to reduce the capacity problems that your Trust

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