Leaders: ‘It is not only confusing, it is also unfair’

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LEARNING that certain drugs are not available to patients on the NHS is no surprise.

With increasingly squeezed budgets, health chiefs are regularly forced to make incredibly difficult decisions which can result in treatment being denied.

These decisions are difficult, often criticised, but at the same time understandable.

What is not as easy to understand is why such radically different decisions are being made by neighbouring Scottish health boards. It means someone in Glasgow can have access to groundbreaking drugs which a patient along the M8 in Edinburgh does not.

This situation is not only confusing, it is unfair and raises questions over why we have the additional layer of bureaucracy of local panels deciding on which drugs should be used and when.

There may well be cases involving other treatments where this situation is reversed and works to the advantage of Lothian patients, but that simply highlights the problem.

Surely it would make sense to have one body responsible for the whole of Scotland to ensure a clear and consistent approach to treatment which can then be easily 
justified.

If the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) rules that 
ticagrelor, for example, offers “value for money” to the taxpayer then should this not simply be 
imposed across the country? Simplistic perhaps, but the postcode lottery must end.

Top Rankin

AUTHOR Ian Rankin today adds his voice to what is sure to be a mounting campaign to save The Engine Shed.

Our story last week revealing that £211,000 worth of council funding is at risk of being cut has already sparked an outcry across the city.

The backing of people like Rankin will only aid efforts to ensure a vital service survives.