N.H.S. co-payments

Hi to all,
as some of you may already know Alan Johnson is reviewing co-payment I attended an open forum at Westminster last week where the quality of discussion was really high. If you feel strongly about this and would like to contact your local MP and ask him to sign EDM1818 .

The actual wording is:

That this House welcomes the review announced by Government of the long-standing policy on NHS co-payments to be led by Professor Mike Richards; affirms that the NHS should continue to strive to optimise health outcomes for patients wherever this is possible; believes that the current ban on co-payments is cruel, because it can result in NHS care being withdrawn from dying patients, and illogical, because co-payments already exist in some parts of the NHS; notes that, under co-payments, no public money need leave the NHS to enable patients to obtain part of their treatment not currently available in the NHS; therefore believes that co-payments can assist one patient without harming the prospects of any other NHS patient; and calls on Professor Richards to take these factors into consideration in compiling his report.

Love Debsxxx

Just checked - my MP Ben Wallace (Cons) Lancaster and Wyre has already signed.

Debs, would love to register my affirmation of co-payment injustice…how do I find my local MP’s email? I live in South East Cornwall, think the MP is Colin Brend, a Liberal Democrat. Great oracle of knowledge that you are, am sure you know how I can do it.

Hi Liz
maybe try www.libdems.org.uk I am sure they will be able to put you in touch…thank you so much x

Hi Valkyrie
thank you so much x

Love Debsxxx

It’s really easy to contact your MP using writetothem.com just google.


Hi Geraldine
thanks you are a star. Got your post on the other thread thanks I would love to take you up on your offer. We will have to get our heads together. My daughter put the Westminster post on facebook and all her friends have contacted their MPs. Little steps but all in the right direction. I have been asked by Dr for Reform to write something on co-payment I feel like I am doing an ology.

Love Debsxxx

bumping up

There is a programme on Radio 4 this morning (9.00am) called ‘The Cost of Health - Who Pays?’ The financial future of the NHS.

I believe co-payments is one of the topics being covered.


Hi Jennifer
thanks so much for that I have just logged on so will try and listen on line. I have joined a charity group and given the address to the man from Roche fingers crossed he sends figures re survival rates etc.

Love Debsxxx

Hi Debs,

Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I had unbelievable problems getting herceptin after the phase III trial results came out, even though I had had a poor prognosis and definitely needed the drug as soon as possible to avoid getting secondaries. It was really stressful having the money in the bank (saved up for a US vaccine that is still in trials four years later!) and not being able to get on herceptin for months even though I had the very strong support of my oncologist. Anyway, I am all written out after writing to my MP.

Best wishes,

How do you find out if your MP has signed? I wrote my MP, only to have him reply (at midnight!) that he had signed that early day motion, but it wasn’t on his list of signed early day motions.

Hi Christine
hubby working but will get him to check later who is you MP?

Love Debsxxx

web link with list of the MPs signed so far:


Hi Debs,

Yes, he has signed. Thanks for the info.

Best wishes,


Hmmm - a certain DC has not signed it! Maybe he will on getting back from holiday…

I had an e-mail from Vicky Lane who co ordinates the Cancer voices network at BCC. There is an on line questionnaire about co payments and also a focus group in August for women with sceondaries to feed in their views about co payments.

I’m not going because I don’t share the mainstream cancer patient views on co payments and don’t want to upset anyone who feels strongly. But contact Vicky Lane if you are interested.

In a nutshell yes I think the co payments issue is unfair but its a minor and diversionary issue compared to other NHS financing issues. Postcode lotteries, equality of access to all effective drugs for all patients is what matters.


Hi Jane
I know what you mean my piont has and will remain the same. I did not wake up one day and think “oh co payment thats what I want to do”
It was suggested to me by my onc there was a drug but it was too expensive for the trust to fund and this is what I told the Westminster forum. I actually think the nhs should supply these drugs when recommended by the onc or whoever.
We would be missing a very valid point of view if you didnt turn up because you express yourself so well. We dont all have to agree on everything. He can only make a fair decision by listening to us all.

Love Debsxxx

I think one of the very difficult emotional issues around the whole availability/funding of drugs debate is the gulf which separates those without terminal illness from those who have it in terms of the meaning a ‘few extra months’. If you are not terminal then facing death in July rather than say in November doesn’t feel like it makes much difference but if you are terminally ill those 4 months could mean the summer holidays with your children or the birth of a new grandchild or the opportunity to finish an important life project.

And then again among those of us terminally ill there are different meanings attached to quality and quantity of life…most people seem to choose more treatment even at the cost of nasty side effects, while some might prefer longer well time now at the cost of a slightly shorter life.

I feel so strongly that somehow those of us with cancer have to find a way of talking about these issues rationally as well as emotionally, otherwise we will always be effectively dismissed (with sympathy…yuk) as poor desperate cancer patients. So much talk about ‘choice’ but the choices which matter are actually often denied us (e.g. the choice whether to take a risk on a drug not actually trialling very well; the choice about assitance with end of life.)


Hi everyone

Just drawing your attention to a new thread in current issues which has an open letter from BCC and a survey on this subject.

All the best


Hi Jane,

Yes, this is a relatively minor issue. The drugs are so expensive in many cases that copayment is a non-starter for the vast majority of people. Basically, it would have to be a drug that seemed really good but that NICE had not evaluated yet. This is a pretty small class of drugs. I do worry, though, that some of the more troubling aspects of the US system (patient mobilisation, for example) will come in here, too.

Best wishes,