Some 26 leading cancer consultants have written to the government demanding properly funded cancer treatment. One section of the letter states, 'We have seen distraught patients remortgaging their houses, giving up pensions and selling cars to buy drugs.'
Cancer patients often have to deal with a 'postcode lottery' in receiving treatment. Drugs to treat kidney cancer were refused last week by the government drug watchdog Nice, which tests the effectiveness of drugs before they can be prescribed on the NHS. Their decision is based in part on 'value for money'.
This is yet more proof that the billions of pounds that have been pumped into the NHS aren't going to the people who need it. Managers have been paid out of a budget that is set to rise to £110 billion by 2011 but the hardship for patients shows no sign of stopping.
Marketisation of the health service has had a devastating impact. Pharmaceutical companies put a price on health, only developing drugs that will be paid for rather than what is needed.
Resistance to cuts and restrictions in our NHS is vital. Campaigners and activists must continue to fight for free and universal access to healthcare.