This is England: NHS Edition
As the music nerds that frequent H&R will be well aware, Tony Wilson, co-founder of Factory Records (New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, etc) and the infamous Hacienda Club, died last week after a long battle with kidney cancer. Like many of the patients featured in Michael Moore's Sicko, Wilson, who claimed to have never made any money in the music business, couldn't convince his insurance provider, Britain's National Health Service, to cover the cost of his prescription drug regimen. From the BBC:
Doctors recommended he take the drug Sutent, after chemotherapy failed to beat the disease.
Members of the Happy Mondays and other acts he has supported over the years have started a fund to help pay for it.
He says his condition has improved and he believes the drug has stopped the cancer in its tracks.
He was turned down by the NHS, while patients being treated alongside him at The Christie Hospital and living just a few miles away in Cheshire are receiving funding for the therapy.
"I've never paid for private healthcare because I'm a socialist. Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal."
Wilson, socialist until the end, wrote an effusive letter to the NHS back in February.
In other NHS-is-a-mess news, Scotland's Daily Record reports that NHS patients are "still waiting up to seven months for [cancer] treatment":
Patients are supposed to be treated within 62 days of urgent referral.
But figures out yesterday showed only three areas in Scotland were meeting those targets every time.
In the worst cases, sufferers were kept hanging on for 220 days.
The figures, for the first three months of the year, show 85.4 per cent of patients across Scotland were seen within 62 days.
The target set two years ago is 95 per cent.
Bonus YouTube video of the late, great Ian Curtis.
(Hat tip: Kurt Loder)