Isn't it amazing how our "independent" media allows the debate to be controlled in this way? Lets not discuss the fact that the NHS is simply broken, that it encourages a policy of euthenasia. Let's not discuss that it is broken because of government policy. Lets not discuss that more money comes out if the NHS budget for IT systems than is spent on drugs.
Let's not even mention one of the really wonderful things this government did for us, the creation of the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE. It's not nice, let me assure you. Their name gives me the same feeling as a dodgy builder that needs to use the word "professional" in his trading name.
NICE has responsibility for making all those "hard" decisions. You know the ones - we have a limited budget, so we need to decide which drugs are most cost effective, and which lives are worthy to be lived.
I had an email from someone yesterday asking that I leave NICE alone. "If you're interested," he said, "the real problem is in the system - a common problem with our society, because many processes and procedures have been put in place by idiotes (a Greek term for a layman) and not the professionals themselves."
So far, so good.
Let me give you a specific example. When pharmaceutical companies develop a drug, the first thing they have to do is to protect their invention, otherwise, some doctors would use secret treatments to treat their patients, with no doubt, a variety of results. It is in the public interest to allow a monopoly in return for full disclosure of the treatment. The only problem with our current patent process is the protection only lasts for twenty years from the Filing date. (In every country except the USA, priority is based on the first to file.) If one now considers the time to move a patent through the patent office examination and issuance and then through human trials, on average only ten productive years of the patent remains, which is why new complex drugs are so expensive: And the more complex the treatment the longer it takes! By now it should be apparent that Nice is not the problem, the patenting process is the problem!
No, sorry, the patent process is not the problem.
I'm not here to give a hard time to someone who I know to be a thoroughly decent bloke. But what he has said here sums up everything that is wrong with health care globally, and yet its used here to excuse NICE's policy.
Turning human health into a profit centre is one of the most insidious aspects of the globalised "system" that we have. This profit centre is generally known as "Big Pharma," and its willingness to kill in order to make a few quid more is legendary.
NICE is a core part of that globalised "system" here in the UK. They are taking the advice of good people, and superimposing a eugenicist's view upon that advice. The resulting policy is one which results in all of the worst decisions our health service makes.
Why are there policies and protocols imposed on clinicians these days? To improve standards? Are standards better today than they were forty years ago? I don't think so.
So, I will not leave NICE alone. And rather than defending NICE, I would respectfully suggest that people on the inside should recognise what is happening and work to undo the "changes" which have got us here.
A debate needs to be had. Not the "will we, won't we" funding debate, but the wide ranging debate about the value of human lives, and whether or not health care should be for profit at all, about how today's health care policy fits in with the clear corporatist agenda being pushed, not only on us in Britain, but worldwide.
It is the system which is disgusting, and while we might target this or that individual for special attention, it is the system which we need to take down and replace. NICE is a key part of the system, and therefore a key target.