Posts Tagged ‘ Health ’

Bonkers attack on Free Prescriptions.

There are plenty of things that you can take the Welsh Government to task over…plenty of things. In general, the most obvious thing you could go after them on is their inactivity. The slow haul towards a legislative Wales has been as painful to endure as it has been uninspiring, even more so given the legal arse up led by Carwyn’s administration over the one piece of post 2011 legislation to get given the Senedd green light. But to attack the free prescription programme, once again, is somewhere between bonkers verging on loopy.

It seems to be the bi-monthly bug bear of the opposition…well, we say opposition, what we really mean is that it is the bi-monthly bug bear of the Welsh Conservatives who seems utterly incapable of just letting this one go, and regularly dust off the cobwebs from their increasingly worn out complaints before wheeling it out once more. Today, led by the ever audible Darren Millar, were the really shocking revelation that since free prescription medication was introduced in Wales, that more people are taking prescription medicines. Jaws must really have dropped when that bombshell was dropped on the Welsh political community. When things are free, people take more of them…take a moment, you must all be in a state of mental paralysis reading this.

It was reported that several Welsh Tory spokespeople were vomiting with horror at the news that the general public were actually getting their hands on medicines, after all, that’s the last thing we want isn’t it? But of course, the whole point of free prescriptions was in response to the fact that large proportions of Welsh society were not taking up prescription medicines, you know, those things that doctors were telling patients ‘you need this to stay alive’, because they were too expensive. Millar was very happy to point out that millionaires can pick up pain medication for free, but duly ignores the fact that Wales is not littered with millionaires, and that it is in fact littered with people living below the poverty line, the very people who stand to benefit from this programme.

It would appear that Darren Millar’s policy would be to price out two thirds of the population when it comes to medication, no doubt resulting in widespread death amongst those troublesome working class voter groups, in turn minimising the Labour vote in Wales…it’s possible at least. Certainly were the free prescription policy to be withdrawn, Mr Millar would be able to enjoy a whole host of new hospital based issues to whine about, as treatable conditions rapidly turn into untreatable terminal illnesses, and already stretched hospital wards become crippled by the sudden influx of deathbed patients, who might have been fine at home, but could no longer afford the medication.

Just a final point on price, the Western Mail reported this morning that while the cost of free prescriptions stands at over £500m, it is a sum that is decreasing rather than increasing. On top of that, given Mr Miller’s determined stance to cut out this unsustainable and unbearable weight on the tax payer, one wonders how he would looking back over his summer indulgences, where he spoke at length and with great enthusiasm about Jubilee celebrations and Olympic entertainments, the combined cost of which would cover free prescriptions for all in the UK (not just Wales) for over half a century…just a thought for anyone wondering how ‘waste’ might be defined.

(not actual) Welsh NHS Spending Solutions.

It has been revealed that several Welsh local health boards have been the recipients of Welsh Government grants, issued in order to meet spending targets and keep the books balanced for the financial year. At a time of difficult austerity measures, swinging cuts to the Welsh health service have been made, but it would appear not early enough and solutions are being sought.

Leading fictional independent health advisor Doctor Scalpel highlighted ‘the main problem that we have with the NHS in Wales, is that there are people who need treatment, it’s been a problem since day one’. Pressed on solutions to the current spending issues, Doctor Scalpel suggested that ‘what we need now is a redistribution of NHS resources into more layers of management and staff training, to make our work force better equipped to not administer medicine. We will only start to see real savings when we get better at closing the door to patients’ adding ‘it’s about time we had a reality check on what the NHS is actually here for, patient care is our number 1 priority, but we will only achieve that goal if we treat less patients, it’s quite simple really’.

Meanwhile, anti-language campaigners were quick to suggest that ‘the NHS in Wales can be saved quite simply, by stopping Welsh language funding. The Welsh language is a huge financial drain and its removal could easily save the NHS here in Wales’. The comments were quickly endorsed by celebrity disc jockey Jimmy Dolphin who eagerly suggested that ‘twenty seven lives are lost a week because of the Welsh language’.

The Welsh Government was not available to comment on these made up observations.

The Jubilee: A Tale of Two Pensioners.

The scene: a small local pharmacy.

The occasion: an elderly gentleman, around 80-90 years old, with the assistance of two walking sticks, making his way to the counter.

The event: said elderly gentleman requests his prescription medicines, multiple large and heavy bags worth of pills.

The discussion:

‘I can’t carry these home, they are too heavy, can they be delivered please?’

‘The next delivery won’t be made until Wednesday I’m afraid’ replies the cashier.

‘But I can’t wait until then for my medicine’

‘Well you can carry them home now if you like?’ responds the ambivalent cashier, ignorant of the man’s age or that his own means of staying upright was through the use of two sticks gripped in both hands.

‘But I can’t carry them, they are too heavy, and I have no free hands’ is the meek and slightly desperate response.

‘Well like I say, the delivery goes out on Wednesday’.

‘Why not before?’

‘Well we are closed for the Jubilee you see’ [that would be Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the man would now have to wait].

‘But that’s not good enough, I need my medicine, I won’t make…’ he pauses, ‘I can’t wait that long’.

‘Well I don’t know what we can do about that I’m afraid’ if all the help provided in the store, and the elderly gentleman makes his way to a seat, slightly confounded by the situation.

Now, in observing this amazing exchange, the eventual conclusion was reached where, after some ten minutes of calling around, the pharmacy managed to find someone with a relationship to the man in question, to assist him, a happy resolution to a situation that saw the mobility challenged pensioner breathing himself into a panic attack, thanks to the initial disregard. A mess cleaned up, but a dangerous situation created in the first place, that could have been avoided.

Why was this the case? Because a very different pensioner is having a party, a party which will have the same impact on the economy and public services as if a general strike had been called.

Want a party? Have it on the weekend, but don’t let this indulgence risk the lives of others, because that is what is happening. Few people seem to be aware of the second bank holiday, the second day of ‘celebration’, and many more will be caught out like this gentleman was today. The stress witnessed today was completely unnecessary and the direct product of this ridiculous extravagance. We can only hope that, for the sake of a party on a weekday, that nothing worse than stress occurs, because what was witnessed today could have been much much worse.

BBC Excitement Over Cancer Non News Story.


Helpful pictures from the BBC, for the idiots out there...

Well, the world can rest easy today, after the BBC have gone to great lengths to bring us the results of exciting new research – lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing cancer. Yep, we were as shocked as you were no doubt at the revelations of this ground breaking new body of research. Now we have it confirmed from the clever boffins in white coats, that if you are overweight, it might not be good for your health, if you drink lots of alcohol, it might shorten your life, if you smoke you might get lung cancer…and someone was paid to produce this report?

Maybe it’s because Christmas is coming up, the annual excuse to indulge to waste busting excess because someone put a tree in the living room (which is an interesting logical absurdity in its own right), that the BBC and health authorities are being so heavy handed in their efforts to slap society in the face with what they already know. Or, perhaps it is more a case of dismay with the general mental aptitude of the British public at large is such that, despite having heard it a million times before, they simply do not have the cognitive capacity to learn the lesson and stop. Either way, the excitement over this report, which has dominated headlines on television, radio and internet pages supported by the Beeb, has been dramatic to say the least.

Perhaps it is actually the case that the current crop of BBC reporters have only just never heard this news. Having been so distracted by financial crises, Arabian uprisings, decades of battering the crap out of middle eastern nations, and all the excitement that came with the Tony Blair years, that we have a generation of reporters who are, for the first time, realising that the general public in the UK are not simply made up out of slim line bankers and hood wearing rioting looters, and that there is a wider picture to the British social spectrum after all – though I hope the BBC are slightly more in tune with the country than that (hope we stress, not expect).

Of course there have been plenty of shouting voices coming back at the Beeb over this, no shortage of people retelling their tales of family woe, the parent who ran every day and only eat fruit, who was still struck down by cancer, who in turn shout ‘stop scaremongering and nannying us, it gets everyone’; there are those who suggest the same report is telling us that 60% of cancers are indeed unavoidable and that we should just not bother, and then the voice from the other side of the argument, who suggest that those 40% of possible self inflicted cancers should be forced to pay up for the healthcare costs of their self inflicted malaise – following the discussion boards on the BBC, trying to avoid cancer would certainly appear to be a divisive subject.

In short, it’s a daft report, which reveals nothing that we do not know already. What perhaps should more a point of concern is that so many people in the UK are not getting the message, or that they are and simply don’t care. Perhaps one conclusion to draw from this is that, despite being furnished with all the knowledge required to lead a healthy life, there is a statistically relevant proportion of the population who simply don’t care, who will sit on their arses, do nothing, drink ‘til their blood could intoxicate if consumed, whose arms might actually produce donut related jam were they to be squeezed.

Let us be clear, for many cancer is a indiscriminate little bitch of a disease, and we as a race fight a collective game of chance with it, it might get you, it might not. But the warnings are there people, and have been for a very long time. Choose to heed them, or don’t, that is your choice, but there are ways in which it can be avoided, should you wish to. Leading the perfect life is no guarantee, but it can help. The BBC report is no indictment on the lazy, the smoker and the drinker, it just states what we’ve known all along, too much of it, and it might kill you, nothing to get excited about, so will be BBC please calm down.

N.B. While the Beeb is doing its best to spook the unhealthy in the nation into action, they carry on the same day a health warning for marathon runners regarding heart disease…dammed if you don’t, potentially dead if you do. Just remember, smoking can kill you, marathon running can kill you, whether you choose to do either if very much down to you.

Hating the Poor – Tories and Free Prescriptions.

It seems that the issue of free prescriptions is one that the political junkies can’t help but wheel out of the garage every few months for a good airing. BBC Wales today covered the latest price of covering prescription costs in Wales today, and the figures were indeed on the heavy side of being expensive. So once again here come the Tories, and they certainly love this issue. It’s almost like heroin for them, no matter how bad it often proves for the Tories to use it, they can’t help but going back to it. So it was that Darren Millar appeared to deliver sweeping broadside stabs at Labour policy, deriding free prescriptions as untenable in the given economic circumstances.

Of course, cancer had to come out as well, as Millar rumbled on citing spending on cancer as a problem in Wales, and why on why were we not spending more in this area? Of course Mr Millar, cancer is the one and only health issue in Wales at the moment isn’t it? No doubt, cancer treatment is not something to be left in want of funding, but its use as a political welly to wang in Labours face here is crass and out of touch, especially when Millar seems intent on suggesting that all other illnesses currently provided for by the free scheme simply don’t matter. This is certainly the implication of Millar’s words, and in his readiness to turn to the current economic situation, he belays the real problem with the current Tory opposition in the Senedd, that being a general disregard for the working class in Wales.

Following the Tory leader Andrew R T Davies, who has already led the way with his obscure emphasis on fox hunting, a national vote winner if ever there was, now Millar leads the well trodden path towards the abolishment of free prescriptions. The problem with all this is that in Millar’s own cited economic difficulties, one wonders how many families would afford the rising costs of medicines, were the policy to be abandoned? The simple answer is that many would not, and as a result, many would fail to follow up the medical advice afforded to them and fail to collect prescription medication. Were this to happen, then certainly the budget for cancer treatments would have to be increased, as many patients who turn away from the opportunity to manage and mitigate heath problems through free treatments, would find their health steadily decrease and develop into much worse conditions, cancers being the amongst the most likely to emerge in many cases.

While there may be an argument for reviewing what remains under the protection of the free prescription umbrella, to consider abolishing the programme entirely is to show little to no awareness for the financial difficulties facing families across Wales. Poor health is one of the major issues in Wales today, and losing free prescriptions would only serve to exacerbate that. While Millar might be the latest in a long line of Tories to enjoy the brief limelight afforded by the use of a political soundbite in the form of bashing free prescriptions, one hopes that he might be the last to indulge in such throw away statements. Just because something costs money, does not make it a bad thing. Free prescriptions play an essential role in providing medicines to hundreds across Wales who simply could not afford it any other way. Its abolishment would cost lives, rather than save them through redirected funds.

Mores the point, such a policy would cost working class lives first and foremost, but then, the likes of R T Davies and Mr Millar might well not be losing any sleep over that.