Author Archives: Mohsin Khan

We need to reform prescription charges

 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen rise after rise in English prescription charges.

Yet the list of illnesses giving you free prescriptions was set in the 1960s, with cancer being the only recent addition.  Shockingly, it excludes mental health outright.

At this autumn’s South Central Regional Conference, a motion by the author was passed calling for reforms to remove the inequities of the current charging regime.

Take two hypothetical examples.

Jon is 40 and has a weak thyroid. Although he has a well paid job, Jon does not have to pay for his thyroid medication, or for any other medication, no matter what it’s for.

25-year-old Samantha works part time, with an income of £17,000. This takes her over the financial thresholds for free prescriptions. She has asthma, but often cannot afford to fill her prescriptions. Samantha ends up in hospital with asthma several times a year, with frequent GP visits too.

As a doctor, I know that there are many real patients like this.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments

MPs must work together to safeguard our healthcare

As a doctor, every day I see the enduring effects of short-term political spin on my patients.

Hospitals bursting at the seams, short-staffed and lacking beds, are told desperately needed nurses will only be available if there is ‘surplus winter funding’. Patients ready to leave hospital wait weeks for ‘exceptional funds’ to secure specialist accommodation, while we face a 12% rise in delayed hospital stays. 

The Commonwealth Fund rightfully praised the NHS’s quality. Yet BMA Chair Dr Mark Porter warned we mustn’t be complacent over the perils of short-term partisan meddling. ‘A combination of rising patient demand, staff shortages and falling funding is undermining the very foundations of the NHS, as is the constant short-term interference from politicians of all colours.’

Reinforcing his counsel, unprecedented strikes showed the peril of capriciously uncosted manifesto pledges. This week NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens called for a national consensus on social care by 2018, as we learned we lag behind similar countries in spending.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Conservative health policies are short on detail

What have the Conservatives said on health so far? Their manifesto makes big promises – but is vague on detail.

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View called for £8 billion more annually by 2020 (alongside £22 billion efficiency savings) to maintain NHS standards.

Liberal Democrats were the first to sign up to this – and we set out clearly how to fund it. The Conservatives matched this – but give no details on funding this other than the ‘recovering economy’.

Lamb also called for a (much-needed!) cross-party Review of NHS & Social Care funding.

David Cameron yesterday proposed 7-day hospital services and 7-day extended hours GP access, offering 5,000 extra GP’s.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Mental health is a hot topic again – and rightly so

Our Ministers have done much to rectify the shameful situation under Labour where mental health was a poor cousin to physical health – something Labour’s policies still haven’t addressed.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: If an NHS Tax is a step too far, let taxpayers make an optional “NHS Donation”

nhs sign lrgLiberal Democrats have committed to protecting the NHS Budget in the next Parliament. But over the next 6 years, we will need to fill a £30 billion deficit to maintain the level of quality we expect from our NHS. Social care faces a £7 billion shortfall.

There have been recent reports that senior party figures are looking at a hypothecated “NHS Tax”.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Opinion: Rethink which conditions get free prescriptions in England

PillsPrescriptions have risen to £8.05. Now, you get free prescriptions if you’re on benefits, a child, student or over-60. But there’s a list of illnesses that also give you free prescriptions for everything. Besides adding in cancer, this list was last updated in 1968.

The list ignores the fact that today, prevention is central to healthcare. Many drugs are now used to stop people developing heart conditions or strokes. It disregards treatable conditions like asthma or high blood pressure, where these drugs help keep patients out of costly hospitals. It …

Posted in News | 17 Comments

Opinion: Let individuals control who uses their health information

Alongside pizza flyers and estate agent adverts, you may have received a leaflet on Care.data.

This April, GP surgeries were going to upload data from GP records onto a national HSCIC database – unless you opted-out. The leaflet had no opt-out form or Freepost return address.

If you don’t opt-out, medical data, including prescriptions and your conditions, will leave the surgery and go to HSCIC. HSCIC then centrally pseudo-anonymise it – removing your name. Your birthdate and postcode stays.

HSCIC’s own risk assessment warns patients could be identified if the pseudo-anonymised data was joined up with other easily-available data. And centrally …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 23 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarYousuf Farah 21st Nov - 2:02am
    I guarantee that Labour and Tory manifestos will be full of all the fantasy policies and money-growing-on-trees economics that they've been saying seen they started...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 21st Nov - 12:52am
    Gloom-monger reporting for duty sah! This is a lot better. We still crucially need to find a credible way to Stop Brexit, but this strong...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 21st Nov - 12:45am
    I'm pleased to see some new flexibility, with the belated recognition that we need to work with others if we are to Stop Brexit. Three...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 21st Nov - 12:38am
    Sandra Hammett, "So if the Tories and Labour don’t shift meaningfully, are we to make pact (if the numbers are there to form a majority)...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 20th Nov - 11:46pm
    Hm. This all looks a bit London-centric to me. If it means freezing regulated fares it should say so, not just for commuters. And if...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 20th Nov - 10:49pm
    @RossMcL. I would agree, it is full of ideas we can sell