The Independent London Newspaper
18th August 2017

NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: Patients’ fundraising is not a cure for NHS problems

    Gaidik Salmon

    Gaidik Salmon: ‘The NHS should not be broke’

    Published: 26 August, 2016

    THE plight of Gaidik Salmon, who has been told that new and hugely expensive treatments are her only hope of surviving cancer, may well belie a trend. She is the third cancer patient to call this newspaper in the past six months who has been told to raise six-figure sums to begin a course of private treatment.

    The extraordinary fund-raising feat of Momenul Haque, who has funded his own course of immunotherapy cancer treatment, is an inspiration. The same is certainly true of Lara Casalotti, another Camden resident who, just a few months ago, sparked a viral internet campaign for a bone marrow transplant that ended up saving her life. 

    But this course of action cannot be considered a solution by the NHS, which has been cut to the bone. Few elderly people, for example, will have the family support or know-how to launch an internet campaign in their hour of need. 

    Blame does not solely lie with the management of the National Health Service. Pharmaceutical companies and the government’s regulatory bodies are no doubt playing politics with its licensing regime.

    Questions could also be asked about the ethical judgment of hospital consultants, who appear to have, in some cases, sown seeds of hope in some patients who, realistically, are not up to the task. 

    The despair felt by the Salmon family at the worsening of Gaidik’s condition has no doubt been added to by the frustration of a misfiring fundraising campaign. Should any terminally ill patient live out their final months fretting over what might have been? 

    We live in a country where the public live their lives in the belief that, when the time comes, they will be given the best care, at whatever cost and whatever their condition. But we are, perhaps, moving into an era when this is no longer the case. 

    Arsenal’s own goals

    IT is no wonder that the sight of empty seats at the Emirates Stadium has puzzled, if not infuriated, Arsenal Football Club’s loyal fanbase.

    There are many possible explanations, but perhaps the most likely is that the high cost of season tickets can now only realistically be met by the very wealthy, or a large company to indulge its investors with a stellar corporate day out.

    Naturally, these kinds of supporters will not be steeped in the kind of loyalty that can pack out a large stadium, week in week out. 

    This is not a new phenomenon. The signs have been there for all to see for many seasons but little has been done by the Arsenal management to address the problem. The club needs to wake up, remember its roots and find a way of getting the real fans back in.