Six-month delay by NHS cost woman a cancer lifeline after tumours grew too big
Help was available but the NHS would not give it. “Too bad if she dies” is the attitude — The price of relying on government for your healthcare
A breast cancer patient waited six months for the NHS to deal with her application for life-prolonging treatment – during which time her tumours grew too big to receive the therapy. Suzanne Lloyd wanted her health trust to fund pioneering treatment that promised to extend her life by two years. Three consultants made a formal request to NHS managers for the Selective Internal Radiation Therapy in February.
But it took until the end of July for her primary care trust to turn down her request, saying the £23,000 treatment was too expensive. During that time her tumours developed to such an extent that she cannot have the SIRT.
The former director of public relations, who suffers from an aggressive form of the disease that has spread to her liver, is now pinning her hopes on a six-month course of chemotherapy to shrink her tumours to a size where she is eligible for the therapy again.
Mrs Lloyd, 43, said: ‘It has taken six months. We applied and waited two or three months, were turned down and reapplied and waited another two or three months. ‘They did try to get it through as soon as their processes would let them. But with all the procedures it adds up to six months. The process needs to be quicker.’
John Baron MP, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on cancer, said: ‘This is no civilised way to treat a patient. Given the time wasted by unnecessary bureaucratic delays, the NHS now needs to fund SIRT immediately.’
Mrs Lloyd was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and learned a year later that the cancer had spread to her liver and was incurable. Since then she has exhausted conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and hormone treatments, and even spent about £80,000 on a two-year course of superdrug Avastin after her then health trust Merton PCT in London refused to fund it.
She responded well to the drug and when she moved to her four-bedroom home on a converted barracks in Deal, Kent, she applied to NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent for funding. After initially being refused, she reapplied and got the money but after the funding came through, her doctors told her that it was no longer working for her.
This is when her consultants suggested she would benefit from SIRT, in which tiny radioactive beads are injected into the artery which supplies the cancer. During the 6-month wait her tumours developed to such an extent that she cannot have the SIRT
She added: ‘I had used up all the tried and tested treatments and my consultants began looking at other options. ‘They had heard of SIRT, a newish treatment. So we decided to apply for it in February this year.’
Despite recommendations from three of her consultants, she was turned down for the treatment. She is now trying to raise the money herself and after a month has made £7,000 from events including a coffee morning.
Mrs Lloyd, who lives with her husband Peter, 49, said: ‘The first time they refused, they said I wasn’t exceptional. ‘But they had accepted I was exceptional to have lived so long when I applied for the Avastin.
‘They also said there was no significant evidence that the trials were effective. ‘But in one trial 90 per cent of people responded with a further two years and in another it worked for 60 per cent. ‘It is already used in Australia, parts of America, parts of Europe and even in some parts of the UK. In Ealing, for example, people are getting this treatment – it’s the postcode lottery.’
The Government recently announced a 50 million pound fund for cancer treatments not routinely approved by the NHS. However, it is expected patients will still need to request the drugs first from their primary care trust, before applying to the fund.
NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent, Mrs Lloyd’s Primary Care Trust, said it could not comment on individual cases.
More black people jailed in England and Wales proportionally than in US
The following article from The Guardian sees the high rate of black imprisonment as a problem. Given that ALL African populations everywhere have high rates of crime, it would be more reasonable to see it as a solution. Blacks just ARE very crime prone and no amount of Leftist outrage can hide that. They have high rates of crime in Africa itself as well as in Britain and America so blaming it on the society in which they live is ignoring the obvious.
So why is the rate of imprisonment higher in Britain than in the USA? One obvious reason is that British blacks are blacker. On some estimates, African Americans are overall 25% white genetically so their crime tendency is reduced by that. Most British blacks are wholly of African ancestry. Another factor is that American blacks tend to live in ghettoes which police tend to avoid — so many crimes there go unsolved
The proportion of black people in prison in England and Wales is higher than in the United States, a landmark report released today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reveals.
The commission’s first triennial report into the subject, How Fair is Britain, shows that the proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated here is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater.
The report, which aims to set out how to measure “fairness” in Britain, says that ethnic minorities are “substantially over-represented in the custodial system”. It suggests many of those jailed have “mental health issues, learning disabilities, have been in care or experienced abuse”.
Experts and politicians said over-representation of black men was a result of decades of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system and an overly punitive approach to penal affairs.
“People will be and should be shocked by this data,” said Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust. “We have a tendency to say we are better than the US, but we have not got prison right.”
Lyon said that although there had been “numerous efforts to address racism in the prison system … we have yet to get a better relationship between justice authorities and black communities. Instead we have ended up with mistrust breeding mistrust.”
Evidence of this damaged relationship can be found in the commission’s report. On the streets, black people were subjected to what the report describes as an “excess” of 145,000 stop and searches in 2008. It notes that black people constitute less than 3% of the population, yet made up 15% of people stopped by police.
The commission found that five times more black people than white people per head of population in England and Wales are imprisoned. The ethnic minority prison population has doubled in a decade – from 11,332 in 1998 to 22,421 in 2008. Over a similar period, the overall number of prisoners rose by less than two thirds. The commission says that the total number of people behind bars accelerated in the last decade despite “a similar number of crimes being reported to the police as in the early 1990s … the volume of indictable offences has fallen over this time”.
A quarter of the people in prison are from an ethnic minority. Muslims now make up 12% of the prison population in England and Wales.
Some on the left of the Labour party blame its policies while in power. Diane Abbott, who raised the alarm over the growing numbers of jailed black men as a backbencher, said she “very much regretted that the last Labour government swallowed [former home secretary] Michael Howard’s line that ‘prison works’.”
“There was never a serious examination of the consequences of locking up a generation of young black men. The result is there are some prisons in the south east which are now virtually all black. Many are converting to Islam.”
The problems may start at school. The commission points out that black children are three times as likely to be permanently excluded from education.
“We are reaping the effects of criminalising a community in the 1970s,” says Ben Bowling, professor of criminal justice at Kings College London and a former adviser to the home affairs select committee.
“The question is how you break the cycle when young men experience custody. Three quarters simply re-offend. We have to intervene with families more effectively to stop kids going to prison. That means looking at school exclusions. You need to deal with issues like mental health and substance abuse. It is not enough to throw our hands in the air.”
The policies implemented in the last decade mean incarceration levels in Britain are now among the highest in western Europe. England and Wales have an imprisonment rate of 155 per 100,000 and Scotland of 149 per 100,000 of the population. This contrasts with rates of less than 100 per 100,000 for most of Britain’s neighbours.
The commission also warns of the rising numbers of women in jails. It says that the “number of women prisoners has nearly doubled since 1995 in England and Wales, and since 2000 in Scotland – currently around 5% of prisoners are women”.
The Ministry of Justice said that the government would not comment on individual portions of the report.
Islamic students at top British university ‘are preaching hard-line extremism,’ terror experts warn
Think tank finds evidence of moderate Muslims being radicalised and Jewish students intimidated
Radical Islamic extremism is being openly practised at a leading university campus, a report today claimed. Think tank Quilliam said they had evidence of hard-line Islamist ideology being promoted through the leadership of the university’s student Islamic Society at City University in central London.
The group had intimidated and harassed staff, students and members of minority groups, it was claimed.
The counter-extremism think tank said they had evidence of the president of City University’s Islamic Society, (ISoc) openly preaching extremism during prayers held on the campus during the 2009/10 academic year. They said the president – Saleh Patel, was recorded saying: ‘When they say to us ‘the Islamic state teaches to cut the hand of the thief’, yes it does! ‘And it also teaches us to stone the adulterer.
‘When they tell us that the Islamic state tells us and teaches us to kill the apostate, yes it does! ‘Because this is what Allah and his messenger have taught us and this is the religion of Allah and it is Allah who legislates and only Allah has the right to legislate.’
‘When a person leaves one prayer, one prayer intentionally, he should be imprisoned for three days and three nights and told to repent. ‘And if he doesn’t repent and offer his prayer then he should be killed. And the difference of opinion lies with regards to how he should be killed not as to what he is – a kafir or a Muslim’.
According to students interviewed for the report, the actions of leading members of the ISoc made members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society (LGBT) feel ‘scared’.
Some Jewish students felt ‘intimidated’, and the group’s actions forced ordinary Muslim students to adopt hard-line Islamic practices which led to some Muslim students publishing an open letter complaining that their religion had been ‘hijacked’ by the ISoc.
Report author Lucy James, said: ‘It is deeply shocking that such extremism is being openly promoted on a university campus in central London. ‘Such extremism can create dangerous divisions on campuses and, if not tackled, may even lead to terrorism. ‘University heads need to recognise this problem and take the lead in tackling it.’
City University London Students’ Union released a statement which read: ‘The report raises a number of issues so the Students’ Union will be in contact with the authors to review the evidence on which the report is based. ‘The Students’ Union works closely with the University to act in the best interest of its student body and wider University community.’
A spokeswoman for the university added: ‘The University is committed to creating as many opportunities for people of different faiths (and indeed of no faith) to meet and engage in honest and respectful dialogue.
‘The University and the Students’ Union asks that all Students’ Union Clubs and Societies – and any external speakers that they invite into the University – abide by its equality and diversity guidelines and values and behaviours.’
‘The University works closely with its Students’ Union and, on a number of occasions, has offered support to the Students’ Union when the Islamic Society has been found to be in breach of these guidelines.
‘The University and Students’ Union are constantly reviewing their protocols, to ensure that they maintain an environment that is open and welcoming to staff and students.’ [Sounds like lots of bulldust and no action]
An inspirational teacher is fired. So who will tell the truth about British schools now?
When deputy headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh took to the podium at the Tory Party conference earlier this month to speak about schooling, her remarks produced two dramatic results.
The first was that she electrified the conference by delivering some brutal home truths about the education system, which she denounced for betraying the poorest and most disadvantaged children.
These had been left high and dry by the prevalent ‘all must have prizes’ Left-wing education ideology, which under the banner of ‘equality’ had produced a ‘culture of excuses’ which kept ‘poor children poor’.
The second result was that she was promptly suspended from her Church of England school, St Michael and All Angels Academy in South London, on the grounds that she had used identifiable pupils to illustrate her argument and had insulted the teaching profession.
After an outcry, it was reported that Ms Birbalsingh would be returning to her position at the school. But now we learn that ‘following discussions’ she has resigned. The inescapable conclusion is that she has been forced out by the school’s governing body.
Since she had been denouncing Left-wing education ideology and her headteacher is reportedly an ardent ‘Blairite’, it is furthermore easy to jump to the conclusion — as several have indeed done — that she has been pushed out for saying the unsayable about the teaching profession. In other words, she is a martyr to dissent because the education ranks have closed against her in order to cover up the awful truth about education.
In her defence, it is also clear that the school’s sensitivities extend beyond any concern for its pupils, since it huffs that such a generalised attack on schooling can be seen as insulting to many teachers — the all-too-predictable defensive crouch of a profession which refuses to listen to necessary criticism.
For the fact is that everything she actually said was nothing other than the pure, unvarnished truth.
As was plain, her target was not the individual school but the system, and the way of thinking that has become the orthodoxy in the education world and to which all state schools — and no small number of independent schools, too — are in thrall.
As she so rightly said, exam standards are dumbing down virtually year by year. Even though children themselves are crying out for order and discipline, they don’t get it.
With competition turned into a dirty word, they aren’t allowed to compare their achievements even with their peers in other schools in the state sector, let alone with those in independent schools. So they are even deprived of knowing just how much they don’t know.
In a subsequent article for this newspaper, Ms Birbalsingh wrote that there was now a chronic lack of robustness in the classroom, reflected in the increasing use of coursework rather than exams.
Pupils could now get a meaningless BTEC in an invented subject such as ‘travel and tourism’ which was worth no fewer than four GCSEs — while modern languages, science or history were in decline simply because they were more demanding.
Her most savage accusations concerned black boys who under-achieve at school through a combination of chaos in the classroom and the demonisation as ‘racist’ of any teacher who dares discipline or exclude them.
For saying that ‘black children under-achieve because of what the well-meaning liberal does to them’, everyone should cheer her to the echo.
It’s also not just black boys who have been abandoned in this way, but all those at the bottom of the heap for which school is their one lifeline out of disadvantage.
Such home truths are practically unsayable in the state sector. Over the years, other educational whistle-blowers have been punished for saying them.
Some two decades ago Martin Turner, a distinguished psychologist and expert on dyslexia, was forced out of his job and had his reputation blackened for suggesting that many diagnosed classroom disorders were actually caused by a systemic failure to teach children to read.
And around the same time, two history teachers, Anthony Freeman and Chris McGovern, were driven out of their posts in state schools for attempting to ensure that children were taught a proper historical narrative as opposed to sociological, politically correct gobbets.
Over the years, all attempts at education reform have foundered because of the refusal by the education establishment to acknowledge the damage being done by the shibboleth of ‘equality’ which has brought the system to its knees.
As Ms Birbalsingh observed, teachers are so brainwashed by the Left that they reject any such thinking as ‘Right-wing’. That’s because the Left demonises any challenge to itself on the basis that its thinking embodies virtue itself.
So its ideas are given the status of holy writ, and a kind of secular inquisition is mounted against anyone who dares to question them.
The British welfare state is not a ‘guardian angel’
Both the critics and defenders of welfarism are blind to the detrimental impact it is having on autonomy and the human spirit
This week, by accident, I caught some of that BBC1 show Saints and Scroungers.
It features a loud little bald man exposing the ‘scroungers’ who fraudulently claim welfare benefits they are not entitled to, before praising the ‘saints’ in welfare services who help pensioners, single mums and other down-at-heel people to access benefits they are entitled to. The show has caused a stink, with some accusing it of promoting a view of people on benefits as scrounging con-artists. But I was far more alarmed by the ‘saints’ section, where welfare workers were described as ‘guardian angels’ helping to ‘turn poor people’s lives around’. I mean, if you’re going to be insulted on TV, surely it’s better to be demonised rather than super-patronised?
Saints and Scroungers, for all its awfulness, captures the essence of the welfare debate today. On one side, mainly amongst the right-wing, only the extreme problems with the benefits system – such as incapacity benefit or the way some sections of society have become reliant on handouts – are held up as problematic. And on the other side, the largely left-wing side, the welfare state is looked upon as a saintly institution, a sacred cow, against which no insult or slur can be tolerated. Neither side is ready to pose truly awkward or probing questions about benefits, and to ask whether, 70 years after it was instituted as a post-Second World War initiative, we really want to continue living in a ‘welfare society’.
Following the Conservative Party conference, many liberal defenders of the welfare state are accusing David Cameron and Co. of taking a Thatcher-style cudgel to the benefits system. They are a ‘chainsaw mob’, says one commentator, cutting everything they can: ‘They can’t contain a cocksure excitement with their brand new chainsaws. They enjoy it and it shows.’ Maybe cocksureness is in the eye of the beholder – because in truth, the most striking thing about the Tory attitude to welfare (it would be stretching things to call it a strategy) is how tentative it is. Cameron has not taken a chainsaw to the welfare system so much as a scalpel, promising to cut off little bits here and there while avoiding doing anything that might damage his party’s carefully crafted new image as Caring and Not Thatcherite.
Cameron’s welfare cuts do not spring from an overarching plan – whether of the economic or ideological variety – but rather look like exercises in spin. The announcement at the party conference that the traditionally universal child benefit would be cut for parents who earn more than £43,875 a year was clearly designed as a very public pronouncement that the Tories are no longer ‘the nasty party’ that attacks the less well-off. In a desperate bid not to be seen to be attacking the poor, the Conservatives cut from the middle classes instead, in a move that wasn’t economically essential but which was politically useful inasmuch as it sent a message about the New Tories.
Likewise, the Conservatives’ new drive against incapacity benefit – with pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith arguing that 500,000 of the people claiming that benefit could actually start work right away – shows that when it comes to welfare they are only interested in attacking easy targets. Incapacity benefit is the most extreme expression of what people refer to as ‘welfare dependency’. It is viewed by many as problematic, because it involves inciting tens of thousands of actually able-bodied people effectively to conceive of themselves as ill. In taking on this extreme form of welfarism, the Tories can once again appear to be taking action while avoiding being tarred with the Thatcher brush. Far from cocksure, their tinkering with the benefits system reveals their lack of an economic or ideological project, and their profound unwillingness to tackle, head on, the welfare cornerstone of British society.
The other side in the debate – the side opposed to Cameron’s cuts – is equally uninspired. Its supporters treat the welfare system as the great unchallengeable institution of British society. Anyone who criticises it is anti-poor and right-wing. It is important to note that this defence of welfarism, this erection of an intellectual forcefield around the postwar way of doing things, is based less on a die-hard commitment to all things welfarish than on the left’s utter inability to imagine how society might look and function without this safety net. It is their failure to understand how social relations would work without benefit payments, their lack of faith in such things as spontaneous social bonds and real community solidarity, that leads them to view welfare almost as a religious institution – literally as the ‘guardian angel’ for the otherwise unpredictable, incapable poor.
Yet from a humanist perspective – rather than from a money-saving, anti-scrounger one – there is much about welfare that can be, and ought to be, called into question. To take the extreme: incapacity benefit (IB) should definitely be rethought, not as a money-saving exercise, but as a way of challenging the welfare state’s problematic redefinition of the relationship between the state and the individual, as a way of recovering important ideals such as autonomy and solidarity. Properly instituted (ironically enough) during the Thatcher years, IB is explicitly about encouraging people to accommodate to the fact of being unemployed, to see their lack of employment not as a political problem that might be fixed through protest or reform or economic development, but as a natural state, a product of their own inability to hold down a job.
It is no coincidence that the numbers of men claiming IB rose exponentially in the 1980s and 1990s, increasing every single year (apart from 1997), from 463,000 men in 1981 to 1,276,000 in 1999 (today, an estimated two million people, including women, claim IB). This is because in the 1980s, when thousands of working-class men were being thrown out of work, they were being encouraged to see themselves as sick, as physically or mentally incapacitated rather than as being deprived of work by social and economic factors.
It was inconceivable that hundreds of thousands of working men had actually fallen gravely ill. Rather, the welfare state was cynically soaking up these people, desperately attempting to offset their potential political anger at being unemployed by inviting them to view their predicament as a health-based problem instead. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: told they are ‘incapable’, left to watch self-pity-inducing daytime TV, it’s not surprising that some people come to conceive of themselves as genuinely unable to work. It might be right that half-a-million of these people could start work tomorrow, but in the act of rethinking certain benefits we shouldn’t leave unchallenged the backward political and cultural trends that led to an explosion of IB in the first place.
Incapacity is only the most extreme form of such welfarism. In other areas, too, the spread of the welfare state is further harming social bonds, community solidarity, and even individual self-reliance and belief, to the extent that welfare has become increasingly therapeutic, too. And yet on one side we have a government only chipping away at aspects of welfare because it is so scared of how people will respond, and on the other side various commentators and activists are passionately defending welfarism because their lack of faith in people’s capacities is so profound, so deep-rooted, that they cannot comprehend how we would cope without permanent external assistance. We urgently need a new debate, one based neither on penny-pinching or people-pitying, but on the question of whether a social institution brought into existence 70 years ago is really the best we can expect today.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.