DRUGS are to be rationed under new proposals to strip back the care available to patients, including vital medicines for terminally ill patients, NHS England announced yesterday.
The proposal includes an initial list of ten products that will be rationed or indeed outright banned in order to ‘save’ the NHS a mere £100m. The initial list of what NHS England describes as ‘low value’ drugs are absolutely essential for the patients that need them, furthermore, it is to be expanded to include many more drugs.
The list includes the vital drug Liothyronine for treating underactive thyroid, Fentanyl, a drug to treat pain in terminally ill patients and Doxazosin, a drug used to control high blood pressure.
‘Stripping away funding for medicines is the product of deliberate government plans to shrink our NHS,’ Keith Taylor a Green MEP said yesterday.
He added: ‘Government policies are systematically defunding and undermining Britain’s beloved healthcare service. The painkillers for terminally ill patients, thyroid treatments, high blood pressure drugs and travel vaccines on the NHS Clinical Commissioners’ ten-strong hit list are far from “low value” to the patients that rely on them.
‘This should be a wake-up call for patients, politicians and anybody interested in stopping our health service being dismantled right before our eyes. What happens when the medicines you rely on are suddenly labelled “low value”?
‘Will we soon see patients forced to search for alternative, less effective medicines while manufacturers exploit the opportunity to increase over the counter costs? That the news comes in the week figures reveal the government has further ramped up privatisation of our NHS is another reminder that the Conservative Party cannot be trusted to look after the best interests or health of the British people.
‘NHS spending under the Conservative government is at its lowest since the 1950s and, at the same time, the service has been asked to make £22bn worth of cuts. Cuts which are responsible for 30,000 excess deaths according to researchers – an unprecedented rise in mortality. As the world’s fifth largest economy, we can afford so much better.
‘We must provide the British people with the social and hospital care service they deserve. To have any hope of restoring a well-funded, truly public health service, politicians and patients must come together to support the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill.’
The Bill seeks to repeal the Tory Health and Social Care Act. Dave Wiltshire, Secretary of the All Trade Union Alliance said: ‘The only way to repeal the Health and Social Care Act is to bring down the Tories. This is why the entire trade union movement must be mobilised at once to defend the NHS, drive out the privateers and restore full treatment and drugs to each and every patient who requires them.
‘This is why the TUC must call a general strike to kick the Tories out and bring in a workers government which will nationalise the pharmaceutical industry as part of a modern and developed NHS.’