CLL Support Association
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Armagedon or false alarm?

It is my wont to watch Question Time in an attempt to keep up to speed with popular opinion on current affairs. This week, as usual, Brexit was being debated. Professor Robert Winston was voicing his opinion from a medical point of view. A cold shudder went down my spine when he averred that specialist cancer drugs would no longer be available to the NHS given a Brexit unless this was negotiated. Some of our drugs come from Europe, some from America, manufactured under license in China in the case of Ibrutinib. Some of us are are recieving treatment via the NHS, others via trials.

I am wondering, given the above, and Winston is not noted for scare tactics, what we should be doing to ensure our continued supply of drugs that are keeping us alive, bearing in mind that some may not have the money to pay if available and health insurers would not cover a known issue.

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Please don't worry, Berrytog. Lord Winston is a kind man and expert in his field. (I used to babysit his kids). But his opinion is very often coloured by his politics. And there is a lot of scaremongering going on. EVERYTHING will have to be negotiated and if there is money, everything can be bought from anywhere in the world.

I refuse to think that this country will suddenly be poor and deprived of all necessities. I believe the opposite will be true!

Sue (London)

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So good to hear a positive view! Tired of the scaremongers.

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My guess is that Winstone is a beneficiary of EU funding (ie our money in the first place) for his research etc and therefore has a very biased remainer view of the Brexit issues. Sue is quite right to point out that trade is conducted between business' and not by politicians and Brexit in whatever flavour will have zero (or negligible) effect on the ability of the UK to continue to trade. Winstone should stick to science as he clearly doesn't have a clue about trade and politics.

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Winston is probably going OTT here... but there is certainly a concern about how Brexit will affect the NHS, as follows:

1. The pound is already a lot weaker against the euro and dollar (before the vote, I could get I.40 euro per pound; now, it's 1.13, if I'm lucky - I often travel to France as my wife is French, so we notice these things). Imported foods already cost a lot more.

2. A lot of the doctors and nurses in the NHS have been drawn here by relatively good salaries, even though the working conditions under 'Hunt' are not great. With the pound so much lower, many will leave, and the service will become even more short-staffed and stressed.

3. Whatever the truth of Winston's comment, medicines imported from Europe or the USA will cost some 20% more (see 1) and so there is a greater risk that they will be rationed, or if new, that their introduction will be delayed.

In other words, if Britain is poorer (and it already is, and it'll get worse), it's bound to have a negative effect on the NHS. The top managers have already informed the government that under the 'increase' in the last budget, they will not be able to maintain current levels of service, and the waiting lists will get longer.

Roll on a privatised USA style system, which works fine for the rich - NOT!

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Scarletnoir

Thanks for your input, I am not really concerned for myself but the community as a whole, I am sure at a price the drugs will be available and in a trial situation we have to commit to the trial company and they to us. The information they gleen is used world wide to sell their product or get it adopted in the first instance. However there are many who are prescibed their life saving drugs by the NHS who have, at the moment, purchased/adopted at a price, notwithstanding that they may be under contract for a fixed period of time thinking that patents will lapse and prices will come down not go up.

Turning to your penultimate paragraph, I have evidence of this myself, two years ago I had a hip opertation, six months ago I was due another at the same hospital by the same surgeon, my preference, I am still waiting, now almost immobile, and a carer to boot having to attend 24/7 to my wife who is virtually bedridden, so far I have been called three times only to be told at the last minute that my surgery has to be postponed. My surgeon, a friend of a friend, has written and apologised for the state of the NHS but it would not be appropriate to pass this on here. These postponements are not only inconvenient but costly as I have to prearrange care at a thousand pound a week and last time I was away nearly two weeks due to complications as a result of CLL.(thank God for my housekeeper and gardener, they had better have a large Christmas bonus!!)

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The fact is that with an ageing population in the UK, the NHS needs inflation plus increases simply to stand still. They are not getting anywhere near that from this government, and so things are slipping backwards and downwards, unfortunately.

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