Viewpoints: UK’s NHS Has Massive Backlog; Covid-Style Partnership Needed For New Cancer Drugs
Opinion writers tackle these public health issues.
What Happened to Britain’s 7 Million Missing Patients?
How long are you willing to wait for the doctor? If, you need, say, a hip replacement, the wait in some parts of the U.K. is measured in years. Apart from the impact of debilitating pain on life and work, longer waits are associated with poorer outcomes. A cataract may not be so bothersome, but an extended delay in treatment could result in permanent sight loss. Routine scans might not seem not particularly time-sensitive, but in Britain (where cancer outcomes lag many other countries) a quarter of cancer diagnoses are picked up from GP referrals for other complaints. (Therese Raphael, 2/17)
East Bay Times:
What We Can Learn About Fighting Cancer From COVID Approach
As an oncologist, I recognize the arduous path to make a new drug. It is a hard trek that lies between the bench and the patient’s bedside. Ordinarily, it takes five or more years just to get a new drug into the clinic for testing. Similar time is needed for clinical trials. Then comes Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, followed by the time it takes for licensing, manufacture, distribution and adoption by physicians. Ordinarily, this means that 12 or more years might pass before the FDA even begins its evaluation of a new drug or regimen. This is before any therapy becomes part of our disease-fighting armamentarium. (Ethan Dmitrovsky, 2/16)
We Can't Save Children's Lives Alone
A child under the age of five dies somewhere in the world every six seconds, largely from preventable diseases. More than 5 million patients need cleft care. Over 5 billion people—more than 63 percent of the world's population—lack access to safe surgical care. Even as countries mobilize resources against COVID-19, essential health services for women and children are still being diverted and deprioritized. The opposite needs to happen. This is a call to action: We cannot let children worldwide continue to die preventable deaths. (Bill Magee and Wafaa Mradmi, 2/16)
The Boston Globe:
Bridgewater Hospital Was Improving. What Happened?
The medium-security facility for men suffering from mental illness who have been ordered incarcerated, civilly committed, or are being held pending trial, had been the subject of one expose after another, dating back to its starring role in the 1967 documentary “Titicut Follies,” and right through a 2014 class action lawsuit over conditions and use of restraints and seclusion. But in 2017, while Bridgewater remained under the terms of that legal settlement, the Baker administration swapped out correction officers (who now only patrol the perimeter) for a private company that would essentially run the facility, providing security and clinical services. A host of glowing media reports followed, such as this one from the Globe: (2/17)
The New York Times:
The Moral Danger Of Declaring The Pandemic Over Too Soon
The early 1990s were in many ways the most terrible of those first years of the AIDS epidemic in America. Research on the disease was in high gear, but drug after drug failed to stop H.I.V. Funerals for friends and family in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s continued unabated, and many of us at risk for getting sick had given up hope of a normal life. My friends and I, most of us just a few years out of college, lived in the moment because we weren’t sure of how much time we had left. (Gregg Gonsalves, 2/17)
Kansas City Star:
AG Derek Schmidt, Expand Medicaid To Help Rural KS Hospitals
Nine years ago, the head of the Sumner County Regional Hospital in rural, south-central Kansas told The Star that the state needed to expand Medicaid. “It has to happen,” said Leonard Hernandez. Without it, he warned, the hospital’s tough financial challenges could not be met, and it would go out of business. Medicaid expansion didn’t happen, as you may know. The hospital did close, in 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to escalate. Dozens of hospital beds were lost. (2/17)
Being A Caregiver Is A Lifelong Calling And Vocation
Caregiving is not just my profession. It is my lifelong passion, and I would say the same is true for others in my field. I wake up every morning energized to use my instincts of loving and caring for those around me to serve our patients at Blakeford Senior Life. (Kenyatta Wade, 2/16)
Pharma In 2022: Building Trust And Extending Collaboration
The past two pandemic-dominated years have delivered a lifetime of unexpected lessons, from the challenging and difficult to the surprising and joyful. Through this time, the pharmaceutical industry learned that listening more closely, working more collaboratively, and setting clear priorities helped bring about some of its biggest and best accomplishments: Covid-19 vaccines. The industry must carry these lessons forward by emphasizing compassion, embracing shared goals, and committing to flexibility and agility. These themes will propel the industry to do more for patients, global communities, and society in general. (Ramona Sequeira, 2/17)