As regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Blogger) will be aware, I occasionally comment upon my state of health, since my cancer diagnosis in 2018, and the spread of my cancer in 2020.
My cancer has given me more cause than most to be thankful for our National Health Service (NHS). I can, from my own personal experience, illustrate in a very practical way the value of the NHS.
Recently my cancer has developed resistance to Enzalutamide, a recently authorised cancer drug which has held my advanced prostate cancer at bay for a couple of years.
Whilst reading up on my limited options for further treatment at this stage, I found a document online which reveals the price of the drug which I have been receiving, free of charge (of course) since May 2020.
The list price of a 112‑capsule pack of 40 mg Enzalutamide is £2,734.67 (excluding VAT; BNF online, accessed May 2020). The daily dose of enzalutamide is 160 mg and costs £97.67. Thankfully, the NHS has negotiated a discount.
Had I had to buy this drug at its list price, I would have needed £95,000 (which I don't have) just to get to today. Without being unnecessarily dramatic, I can honestly say that without the NHS I might well be dead by now.
As it is, thanks to the availability of Enzalutamide on the NHS, together with palliative radiotherapy for my secondary tumour, I'm enjoying a good quality of life and I'm able to postpone chemotherapy for a little and have a good summer.
All being well, I should still be blogging here for another couple of years. As I do, I will try to keep abreast of campaigns to defend the NHS, which is more at risk now than at any time in the past 74 years of its existence.
Under this Tory Government, we are seeing not only the consolidation of privatisation of service provision under the banner of the NHS. We are also witnessing the persistent underfunding of our health service, leading foolish people to think that “going private” is a way to reduce pressure on the NHS. In fact, “going private” is the way to help hasten our NHS into its grave.
With the NHS facing unprecedented staff shortages, only an inflation busting pay increase for health workers can halt the spiral of decline, which the Government are deliberately encouraging in order to undermine our health service.
I certainly won't be here for the centenary of our NHS in 26 years time. If we don't fight now to save it there won't be a centenary for those of you who are here to mark. That fight will mean supporting strikes for higher pay.