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Its true…

May 10, 2007

Britain is one of the worst places in the developed world to be if you get cancer, researchers from Sweden’s Kaolinska Institute have shown HERE . But bizarrely one of the leading nations in the world in research against cancer. I am afraid that this will come as no surprise to those of us who treat Cancer for a living.

However I was interested to hear Karol Sikora, a well known UK oncologist on radio 4 this morning. He says he wants rationing by NICE to be explicit and timely so that the NHS can provide a “core service”, with the implication that people would have to pay for anything over and above the core service. This is not, of course, what Patsy and the DoH want us to believe. You can hear the interview HERE

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But speaking as I was previously of perverse incentives and conflict of interest, I wondered whether Dr Sikora might have mentioned that he is the leading light behind CancerpartnersUK, a private venture providing oncology services to NHS and private patients, and centres where people will be offered a basic “NHS” package with the opportunity to pay extra (to Dr Sikora’s dispensary) for additional drugs like erlotinib or bevacizumab which are not available on the NHS. So, to look at it cynically, he has an incentive for the basic NHS package to be as basic as possible to encourage his own business.

Now I think this is a model which may well work and may have benefits, but I think Dr Sikora would be well advised to declare his interest in this organisation, which is more significant than his NHS commitment, which I understand to be minimal.

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