Tuesday 14 August 2012

NHS-Approved Rent Seeking…

Gastric and weight-loss surgeon Andrew de Beaux questioned whether it was worth paying for treatments which may have little benefit for cancer patients in their last weeks of life.
Instead, he said, the money could be better spent on potentially life-changing weight-loss surgery.
Of the sort that de Beaux carries out, I presume? And would like to continue carrying out, maybe even increase his workload?
More than a quarter of adults in Scotland are obese, costing the health service more than £450million each year, according to a report last autumn.
De Beaux said: “If someone is in pain and needing palliative care, I would not be against that. ”
Oh, my..! How gracious of you!
“But I do have reservations about the fact that in oesophageal and gastric cancer we spend £20,000 to £30,000 on palliative care per patient and that gives them six to eight weeks of life.
“Is that money well spent when you have so many other conditions?”
Well, I’d guess to the patients who get that six to eight weeks to help them put their affairs in order, it must seem so.

After all, they can’t alleviate their cancer any other way, can they? They can’t diet their cancer away, unlike your patients…
He added that some expensive treatments for terminally ill patients have very little benefit but money is spent on them because it is an “emotive” situation.
Well, yes. Dying is often pretty emotive.

I imagine there’d even be people upset to see someone like you – insensitive and thoughtless as you are – shuffle off this mortal coil.
He added: “Being overweight causes terrible suffering. These people are having their lives shortened by their size while we treat other diseases. There are huge inequalities.”
I’m sure being overweight does cause ‘terrible suffering’.

But…it’s not really in the same bracket as a fatal disease that you don’t catch from stuffing your face with pies. Is it?


P T Barnum said...

trying so very very hard not to wish a long slow lingering death from cancer on this quack....without expensive morphine...trying and failing....

Macheath said...

P T Barnum, since the same palliative care (and at de Beaux' own hospital, no less) - despite prognostications of two extra months at most - actually kept my father alive for another 5 years, long enough to see his eldest grandchild get to university and his younger daughter married, I find myself even less well disposed towards him than you are...

Jeff Wood said...

"More than a quarter of adults in Scotland are obese..."

Granted, I have been out of Scotland for a year and a half, but I call bullshit on this one.

Tatty said...

I'm a tad suspicious of anyone who turns down continuous paid work. It's like he just doesn't want the job anymore.

Anyone would think "the money" came directly out of his own pocket. Newsflash doctor....it's OUR money.

We pay for you to provide a service and we pay for the cost of that service.

You are paid to try to heal the sick, help birth the next generation and help the last generation out of this life without pain and suffering. We pay for what you need to achieve that. Twice and thrice over, actually.

If you can manage a shred of human compassion and dignity then great but frankly I don't care if my nurse has PMT or a shitty boyfriend so long as I get the service I require, I have paid for and I am entitled to.

You are not paid to decide how much it should cost or who gets what level of service. That's our job.

How hard can this be, really.

Yahoo said...

What Tatty said.

Those words should be printed, framed and hung in every room in every hospital and every GP's surgery in the land.

Macheath said...

Interesting timing on the part of de Beaux, given that this was in the wind:

'Prostate cancer sufferers in Scotland have finally gained access to the drug used to extend the life of the Lockerbie bomber after the NHS’s spending watchdog agreed it was worth the cost.

(Daily Telegraph today)

Anonymous said...

A lot of people who had gastric surgery get fat again.

And almost no-one stays slim after normal dieting either.

How about we just leave fatties alone and find something else to obsess about?

Btw, don't let the GP take your weight, don't tell them if you smoke or drink, don't encourage their sainthood obsession and refuse them the data to practice the dodgy statistics voodoo those quacks use to ration and shoo the sheeple with.

P T Barnum said...

Macheath, your anger obviously has an even greater piquancy than mine, given your father's story, but it's been a long time since I read something which caused even my jaded and cynical perception of those who would rule over us to blench. With my parents both currently in remission from cancer (thankfully) after the NHS spent money on treating old people's cancer, and with a dear friend defying every odd going as he tries to live with dying from pancreatic cancer at the age of 63, this scum wants to prioritise hacking away at the stomachs at those whose problems are not physical at all, but psychological. He wants the money used to treat and care for people I love so he can perform surgery from the dark ages. May he rot from the head down.

UK Fred said...

Maybe someone ought to fatten this turkey and hurry Christmas along. or is there a human variant of foie gras that we could force-feed him for? I freely admit to being Scottish and overweight, but I know why I am overweight. As Jasper Carrott once said, it's because one end of my digestive tract is bigger than the other.

But having watched a close relative die from cancer that was undiagnosed until it had metastasised, I do not regret anything spent to provide palliative care.

JuliaM said...

"... I find myself even less well disposed towards him than you are..."

It says a lot for the detachment that some medical people practice (as a defence mechanism?) that he seems totally oblivious to how his patients and their relatives mighttake this, doesn't it?

"Granted, I have been out of Scotland for a year and a half, but I call bullshit on this one."

Ah, but to you, 'obese' means 'couldn't get up again under own steam if fell over, and last saw his toes in 1945'. To the modern NHS, it means something quite different...

"May he rot from the head down."

I think that process has already started.