Quango to stop anti-cancer treatment?

Hi all

did anyone see breakfast news on BBC this morning about someone (from a trust setting up a million pound quango - as I understand it - to stop NICE recommending expensive anti-cancer treatment.
The man I saw who was setting this up said that trusts had to find the funds and weigh this up against things like stopping babies from dying. Ridiculously provocative language!

I can’t see anything yet on the BBC website and I haven’t explained it that well. Hopefully more details will be available later today.

I think as many of us as possible should consider writing to the Health secretary Andy Burnham about this…


This is like the chicken and the egg - children dying?? mother dying so cant bring up the child???

Will research this and if you hear anything more please let us know.

I wouldnt mind paying for my Tamoxifen but what if you cant afford to?

Craziness at the moment on a lot of levels.


morning everyone,

Well I work for a hospital trust , and over the last few years many of us front line managers are being sickened by the mis use of hospital funds. the big wages always go to temporary project workers, brought in on mega bucks to see what the front line need , or are they spending correctly. Makes my blood boil, to such an extent that I left one trust otherwise I would have hit one of these quangos.He came in on treble the going rate, picked everyones brains, wrote a report stating that we should stop ordering post it notes , to save money !!!

one such example. whilst i was being bed bathed agfter recon, the nurse had to use 3 paper bowls to save the water dripping through as they had to orded these cheaper ones , rather than the more expensive ones, but as she pointed out one expensive bowl would have done the trick, a crass example but one of,so o many I could resite here.

have to leave this now feel stress coming on. big style

have a good dayxxxx

wounder what these quangos would do if they found themselves having treatments!!!

Here is the piece


Not sure if it is something that the moderators will remove the link on or not.


Hi Fionam

Thank you for sharing this link with everyone. It will not be deleted as it is a very useful and informative article which others will, I am sure, be interested in.

Best wishes

This is an appalling misuse of money.If cuts have to be made there are many areas of the NHS where cutbacks would not make the dufference between life and death,this quango is such a dreadful idea-that million would have been more use if it provided drugs for a couple of gravely ill patients.

As someone who works in the nhs i find it so irratating that come the end of the tax year, they will be spending what is left of their budget on stupid non necessary things, so that they are not seen to not need all the budget given. The money could be much better utilisd if it could be redirected to departments that require more money.

Hi all

thanks Fiona for posting the link.

I also used to work in the NHS and I totally agree with the comments you’ve been making about wasted funds. I just thought that it was abhorrent to set treating cancer patients against treating babies. What about saying cancer patients v temporary high paid consultancy workers - I know what the public would think about that.

I am going to write to Andy Burnham the health secretary to say that it is a huge mismanagement of funds to talk about the cost of cancer treatments and then spend 1 million pounds on setting up a quango. Anyway why target cancer patients there are plenty of other costly treatments available on the NHS - IVF, organ transplants etc (not saying any of those aren’t valid by the way). If they want to debate the cost of drugs don’t do it by using cancer patients.

I wish the BBC had shown a mother with cancer who had young children as I think that would have made the point more strongly and shown it for the nonsense it is.


Hi, i also think that if they didnt make so many misdiagnosis with cancer patients then maybe we wouldnt cost them so much. We are entitled to get the required treatment and so should be getting the best. My children are 17 and 13 but i totally agree with what you say about mothers with younger children, i would find it hard enough not being around for my children, can only imagine how awful it would be if they were younger.

Hi all,

still fizzing, over this, I think extra monety should be re directed in to finding out why so many younger women are getting this dreadful disease, I am 54 but devestaed , and my children are independant now, if they were not I would be a total jelly, dont know how , or why you younger ladies are having to suffer.

love to all xx
and by the way i mean real research, not having admin walkin around with clip boards and filling in spreadsheets to hit targets

sozz , off my soap box nowxx

could BCC set up a petition against the setting up of this quango? I think it would be pretty straightforward to do. It does seem to me to be a horrible waste of public funds.
And of course we spend less on anti-cancer treatments that many of our West European counterparts.


Anyone can set start a petition on the government website:-


Ann x

Have just watched the clip - thanks for posting it, Elinda.

I found it sickening and sadly so typical of the lengths some organisations are prepared go to to avoid doing their job.

Wouldn’t it be nice if instead they’d all had a meeting and said afterwards “there are a number of exciting new drugs around for cancer patients, how can we work together to help as many of them as possible?”

And I agree, the line about ‘babies dying’ was an extremely distateful piece of emotional blackmail. And there may be an even deeper and more unpleasant sub-text here - the implication that while babies are ‘innocent’ and deserve the best we can do for them, people with cancer may well have brought it on themselves - not eaten enough spinach in the last 5 years or had one cream puff too many back in '73 or something, should have been walking to work, or whatever.

Truffle shuffle is right - short termism is rife in the NHS as she has pointed out with the example of the cheap bowls. And there can’t be many regular users of this forum who aren’t aware of the long-term financial benefits of Portacaths versus the old fashioned lines (less, if any flushing, reduced admissions for infections, ease of use, will last for years if necessary) or plain vulnerable human veins. Just one example of where savings could be made in oncology departments if more common sense were applied.

I’m sure we could all make up our lists of procedures that the NHS carries out that are non-vital, too.

European countries do spend more on cancer drugs and treatments. A couple of the reasons they have the funds is lower staff wages (particularly GPs and consultants) and fewer of them (in France, for example, there is no such animal as a BCN), in relative as well as real terms and slick, streamlined, efficient, administration.

Ann, you’re spot on; it’s very easy indeed for an individual to set up your own petition on the Downing St website (I did one last year for lymphoedema). The key thing is getting it publicised and the internet is brilliant for that, with many cancer websites and forums available. Not to mention our personal networks of friends, family and colleagues.

X to all

S (simmering…)

There’s this one going at the moment…worth a look


One of the worst abuses of funds in public sector organisations like the NHS is the amount they spend on consultants and design companies to do their websites. My OH is a highly respected web developer and none of the NHS websites he has looked at have worked properly because too many people are tinkering around with the codes. We have even come across a few that could be really easy for an average hacker to get into. I read last week that the government department DEFRA spent 80k on reworking their website, 40k went on the designer changing the colours and the rest was for a usability report (which associates of ours would charge between 1 and 3k for and that’s expensive). I can only imagine what health boards up and down the country are spending, IT companies see the public sector as a blank cheque.

Gggrrrrrrrrrr! Yes I saw this on the television this morning and could not believe my ears. Forgive me, but when i was working as an education manager, and I had decisions to make, I didn’t then think ‘oh I know I’ll set up a quango which will cost a million pounds’! Surely if he is a health service manager, part of his role is being part of that decision making, not sub contracting it out for an enormous amount of money. Clearly he is not up to his job (I think that applies to an awful lot of managers within the health service), he should be sacked - there’s a saving!

To make an emotionally charged comparison to the dying baby is crass snd ignorant.

Isn’t this something that BCC and other cancer charities should challenge, because it strikes me that it’s awfully bad news for all of us if this guy is sucessful.

Hi all

Bahons - I see the petition and that’s a good one. It is quite broad but it does make the relevant points. It will only be effective if enough people sign it though and we could use this forum to publicise it more. If others think this is a good idea I’d be happy to start a new thread to do this or do BCC organise anything like this?

Personally I think a letter to Andy Burnham is also in order about the wasting of funds on setting up yet another quango and the unacceptable attitude of this health service manager or whatever he was.

good wishes to all
Elinda x

Hi Elinda

A new thread to publicise the petition sounds like an excellent idea. BCC seem to leave it to members to publicise petitions in that way on here.

It’s a bit like a houseplant tho’; you have to keep an eye on it and give it regular bumps to stop it withering away (a few mixed metaphors there, I think!)

I started a thread on here for my lymphoedema petition and gave it regular bumps and a lot of people kindly posted on the thread when they’d signed it, too.

They also passed the word along to family, friends and workmates and posted about it on other sites, too. The LSN also mentioned it in their quarterly magazine.

A letter to Andy Burnham sounds good, too. And I daresay the BBC could be contacted as well; it’s thanks to them that we know about it at all, I suppose.

X to all


Hi everyone…I’m dashing through this thread as I’m out for the day soon but will have a good read this evening…just commenting as I think if 500 people sign a Downing Street petition it has to then be taken into consideration…I read this somewhere…will look and sign later…xx PS…think it’s awful…worrying…especially during these economic times.

Hi all

Belinda - have checked and you’re right they pass on petitions to ministers when they have 500 signatures. I’ll set up a new thread to encourage signatures.

Thanks Bahons2 for advice re the thread etc. I actually thought the subtext was more sinister than the one you thought of ie. that cancer weren’t worth trying to save for a few more years.

If anyone also feels up to writing a letter of complaint about Andrew Donald, the Health Manager from Birmingham East and North PCT who was interviewed in the clip and was weighing up treatment for cancer patients against ‘dying babies’ and that trust spending 1 million on the quango then we could also write to his boss:

Sophie Christie
Chief Executive
NHS Birmingham East and North
4th Floor
Waterlinks House
Richard Street
Birmingham B7 4AA

I will be doing all the above and writing to the health secretary. I’ve already signed the petition but have used my christened name rather than Elinda so you won’t see that on the list.

best to all

Can anyone help? I’ve just tried to set up the new thread and put in the link to the petition but it doesn’t come up as a working link (ie it copies the text but you can’t click on it). This is only a problem when I try to put link into the thread - it’s fine for example if I put it into an e-mail. I’ve even tried not copying it but actually typing it all out and that doesn’t work either. Any one had this problem or any ideas?