Well, this is the problem with the NHS, innit?

She didn’t want the room’s pity. She didn’t even want the room’s respect, though it certainly makes a nice change to get it when you’ve spent most of your professional life as a politician. What she wanted was more help for other people with cancer: more shared knowledge, faster diagnosis, wider access to experimental treatments, better survival rates (we currently have the worst in western Europe) and for us all to be part of a “human-sized picture”, where the “community of love” created by patients was mirrored in the NHS.

Cancer treatment depends upon speed. Upon speed of diagnosis, of starting treatment, of changing it when some other approach would do better etc.

What’s the one thing a Stalinist bureaucracy isn’t good at? Speed.


19 thoughts on “Well, this is the problem with the NHS, innit?”

  1. Also helps if you are not credulous and treat snake oil salesmen with the contempt they deserve.

    Didn’t Steve Jobs learn this lesson?

  2. Plenty of snake oil on all sides of illness.

    As witness recent research suggesting that chemo does as much to spread cancer as to kill it.

  3. First comment is from someone who lives in rural France and has had first-class treatment but doesn’t reach the obvious conclusion. Blames the Tories instead.

  4. “we currently have the worst in western Europe”

    For someone who know more than me – just how meaningful are survival comparisons between countries with different detection timepoints due to differences in screening etc?

  5. How full of shit can you be? Dingbat didn’t even have cancer. A tumour is not cancer.

    ‘Her fearless speech was also a reasonable demand for more shared knowledge, faster diagnosis and wider access to experimental treatments’

    Fearless? You kidding me? Only in the feminists’ pretend world was it ‘fearless.’

    Demand? WhoTF is she to demand anything? Oh, sorry, we’re still in feminists’ pretend world.

  6. So how long was TJ in each house of parliament? What was done in that time to ensure that the NHS ‘remains’ the envy of the world? Or does it compete for resource with every other thing government does and can never win?

  7. “just how meaningful are survival comparisons between countries”: it’s hard to know. Detect early and unless your treatment works, the apparent extra life lived is just an accounting tautology, not a real thing. Moreover it seems that the ones you can detect early are often slow-growing ones that you might otherwise die “with” rather than die “of”. This opens the possibility of over-treatment that shortens lives.

    I suppose I’d like guidance from someone who is expert in cancer, knowledgeable about statistics, of sound judgement, and prepared to be honest in public. If you find one such, do draw him to our attention.

  8. Was TJ the one who went through a fake divorce from a crooked husband? Or was that another of the Blair Babes?

  9. @dearime: That’s the one. Husband was Berlusconi’s tax advisor, and negotiationotiated Ecclestones million pound bung to Labour to keep smoking ads in F1.

  10. At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly I don’t think the Lords should be standing and applauding. I don’t want emotion I want calm reason in our legislature.

  11. Bloke in Costa Rica

    It was Tessa Jowell who came out with that ridiculous Stalinist “wreckers and saboteurs and lickspittle running dogs are complaining about how much the London Olympics are going to cost”. The day it was announced that London had “won” the bid I said UK taxpayers would be in the hole for £20 billion. I was right. She can go to hell.

  12. Whoever told you treatment depends upon speed was in error. Multiple factors.
    Treatment depends upon first finding the cancer then the cancer being treatable. Finding it early helps with what options are available including extending life by slowing the cancer.
    There are cancers that no matter how quick they are found the location or other factors make it inoperable. And best that can be done is slow it.
    Been there with family. Lost several family members to cancer and my wife has just had an all clear. With 3 lots of cancer in 6 years. And my mother was diagnosed with cancer 4 months ago but they aren’t treating it yet, they have to let it grow.

  13. @Martin

    Sorry to hear what you’ve been through, particularly on top of all the other health issues – but glad your wife has had the all clear. Best wishes.

  14. I’ll expand.

    Jowell is presented as the all-conquering hero. She wasn’t even in the war. An experienced veteran, who was never a soldier.

    Theater of the absurd.

  15. Dearieme: “I suppose I’d like guidance from someone who is expert in cancer, knowledgeable about statistics, of sound judgement, and prepared to be honest in public. If you find one such, do draw him to our attention.”

    I am just ploughing my way through “Universal Health Care without the NHS” from the Institute of Economic Affairs which seems to address your points.

  16. Social Justice Warrior

    Reportedly TJ is being treated for glioblastoma, which has median survival, with the best treatment, of little more than a year.

    Different cancers are different. Much of the improvement in survival time with breast and prostate cancer from screening programs is just lead-time bias. But lung and bowel cancer survival could be a lot better if we diagnosed it earlier – persuading patients to report symptoms early is the key, we need more nannying; no doubt Tim will campaign for that.

    The journalist in Tim’s link hasn’t understood what an “adaptive trial” is. And better access to experimental treatments is good for patient morale but makes almost no difference to survival.

    More money would help. Other than that, the structure of the NHS is irrelevant.

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