Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A useful bit of charity

Listen to this:

My mum had a leukaemia relapse. We asked about a bone marrow transplant on 15 April and agreement to fund the cost of a transplant was given to us a week later. Within a month she'd had the transplant.

Sounds good, doesn't it? There's only one problem. The whole story reads like this:

My mum had a leukaemia relapse. Her consultant said that within a year she would be dead, thanks to her PCT's decision not to fund a bone marrow transplant. We appealed, but the PCT denied the appeal, despite the fact that many other PCT's fund bone marrow transfers.

We asked [a charity that I know a member of] about a bone marrow transplant on 15 April and agreement to fund the cost of a transplant was given to us a week later. Within a month she'd had the transplant.

This is not a very well-known charity. They don't advertise on TV, they don't accept money from the government and they don't have famous people advocating them or brightly coloured bangles that you can buy. It is, as far as I can tell, exactly what a charity should be: it takes voluntary donations from people, has real people who listen to requests and decide the merits of each case very quickly. They don't "chug", they don't even have volunteers shaking collecting cans outside supermarkets.

And they can do a better job in individual cases than the NHS, as could many other charities of the same kind. If people weren't funding the NHS, these charities could get some of that wasted money and use it to provide targeted care to people who needed it.

Because even with the billions of pounds that the government throws uncaringly at the NHS, the NHS is in too many cases not delivering what is needed by the people who need health care.


Fidel Cuntstruck said...

I wonder what the TRUE story is? Leukaemia comes in several forms, some more treatable than others - you'll note that I used the phrase "treatable" rather than "Cureable". As the disease is in the bone marrow the normal course of events is to get the patient into remission through Chemotherapy, then carry out a Bone Marrow transplant so that the patient "starts again" effectively with a new immune system. If a relapse had already occured that would possibly suggest that a transplant had already been performed. Relapse means starting the whole process over, and that is difficult because the body can only take so much Chemo - it's pretty harsh. Once relapsed the chances of survival tend to be hugely reduced whatever the treatment and so it was possibly a case of prognosis versus life quality rather than purely a matter of cost - but that doesn't make for good Meeja copy.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Name names, link links?

When you have can you post the link in the "National Death Service" comments?


Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Fidel: it's true that she died shortly after the transplant, there's no happy ending. But some PCT's still fund, so either they are wasting lots of our money or this PCT is killing people to save money. Which do you prefer?

@ac1 paper copy, I'm afraid.

Fidel Cuntstruck said...

No Mr Clown, Consultants (in my experience) will always treat if there is a chance of survival, it's just that more chemo can kill you quicker than the disease itself once relapse occurs, the patient will also feel very very ill, so if the prognosis is short then it's a case of deciding whether to spend that time feeling very very ill, or slightly better for a while. Even then it would be blood and platelet transfusions at least once, if not twice each week as your platelet and cell count is constantly dropping.