Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1804

A price on your life

THE government's National Institute for Clinical Excellence is denying life saving treatment to cancer patients, say top consultants. The government advisory body limited doctors' ability to prescribe some colon cancer drugs two months ago because they were not 'cost effective'.

Some 28 leading doctors have written an open letter condemning the verdict. Survival rates for colon cancer sufferers in Britain are 6 percent less than in Europe and 22 percent lower than in the US.

Waiting for true figures

HOSPITAL WAITING lists are continuing to rise, despite the government's budget pledges of extra money.

The number waiting for admission to hospital in England rose by 22,700 in the last year, according to Department of Health figures. That means more than a million people are on NHS waiting lists.

Stress at end of line

MORE THAN three quarters of call centre staff say they 'feel stressed' at work, according to a new survey by the Unison union.

They survey found that almost two thirds of staff say they have suffered pain in their hands, wrists, upper arms or backs. Eighty percent of workers regularly suffer headaches.

Driving us to pay more

CAR COMPANIES make huge profits from selling us overpriced cars. Now they want us to pay for scrapping them, and New Labour looks set to cave in. It is expected to introduce a new system that passes on some £450 million costs to the poorest car owners.

This is a major victory for the motor companies. They have defied plans to make them bear the cost of recycling vehicles. Under the 'last owner pays' scheme, car owners will have to pay between £50 and £100 to scrap their vehicles.

The decision will cause an outcry among environmentalists and local authorities. Already 20 percent of the two million cars scrapped every year are dumped on the streets.

Old suffered in care home

MORE EVIDENCE has come to light about Westminster Health Care, the giant care home business that New Labour's health 'guru' Chai Patel used to run. Patel, a Labour Party donor, advised Tony Blair on private sector involvement in the NHS and care for the elderly, and sits on many New Labour quangos.

Patel was in charge of Westminster Health Care when it owned the Lynde House care home in Twickenham, west London. It was under investigation for substandard care and abusive treatment to its patients.

The Observer has uncovered some of the evidence. Relatives and friends describe how elderly people went unwashed for months at a time, or were left miserable and uncomfortable in soiled bedclothes and incontinence pads.

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Article information

Sat 15 Jun 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1804
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