Category: COVID-19

NHS is being ‘protected’ from those who need protecting most by rationing treatment based on eugenic ‘guidelines’

NHS Bevan

 

The National Health Service (NHS) was born on 5 July 1948. It was the first time anywhere in the world that completely free healthcare provision was made available on the basis of citizenship rather than the payment of fees or insurance.

The NHS was founded on the principle of universal healthcare. It upheld the most fundamental principles of human rights: that each life has equal worth, and that we all have a right to life.

In 1946, the new Labour government passed the National Health Service Act. The model they used was based on one used in Tredegar in the 1930s, which was like an early, local version of the NHS. However, the new Minister for Health, Aneurin Bevan, who was MP for Tredegar, had to overcome opposition to the NHS. For example:

  • The British Medical Association (BMA), who feared that doctors employed by the NHS would lose income.
  • Many local authorities and voluntary bodies, which ran hospitals, also objected as they feared they would lose control over them.
  • Winston Churchill and many Conservative MPs thought that the cost of the NHS would be “too great.”

There are now four times fewer beds within the NHS than there were originally. That is despite increasing demand.

The Conservatives know the cost of everything and the value of absolutely nothing.

Tory governments have always been misers with public funds that are for funding public services. They prefer to hand our money out to millionaires.

However, the most fundamental role of government is to keep citizens safe. Without doing that, they have no legitimacy or authority. They have no point.

The role of public services is to protect and support the public who pay for them. As the coronavirus epidemic in the UK peaks over the coming weeks, many of our most vulnerable citizens face being cruelly let down by a government that has failed to ensure our public services are fit for purpose, particularly the NHS. 

Chronic underfunding over the last decade has left us with treatment rationing and situations in medical settings where patients are left for hours on end on trolleys in corridors without adequate care. That was happening long before the coronavirus did the epizootic shuffle through a couple of species to settle, often catastrophically,  in humans.

The government are transmitting irrational adverts asking the public to ‘protect the NHS.’ Yet it is the government that has failed in that endeavour. And systematically failed the British public. The NHS has ceased to be fit for purpose. Not because of any lacking on the part of its hard working front line staff, but because of chronic underfunding.

I’m sure NHS staff appreciate rainbows, applause and a mention from the Queen. I’m also sure they’d appreciate protective gear, extensive coronavirus testing kits, more standard ICU equipment and government funding much more.

This government have pathologised the notion of social safety nets, civilised support, and inverted the purpose of public services with an insidious neoliberal narrative.

It’s absurd, perverse and obscene.

This perverse rhetoric of ‘protecting’ a public service from ‘overuse’ has been with us for over a decade. It’s a way of normalising the dismantling of the services we have paid for.

Imagine the public needing to use a public service… makes you wonder what the Conservatives think they are actually for, if not serving the public. 

Of course, within the neoliberal framework, perverse profit incentives overshadow quality of service and delivery. It’s all about ‘efficiency’ and not quality. Public services have become cash cows: privatisation and profit. Another effect of market fundamentalism is the increasing conditionality of services, and in healthcare settings, the progressive rationing of treatments and cost cutting. 

However, that hasn’t worked out very well to date. It’s become a way of making individuals responsible for being ill and needing healthcare, and for the chronic lack of funding the government are responsible for; an inadequacy which is now being thrown into sharp relief.

The whole point of the NHS was to protect citizens, providing a universal healthcare service to all, ‘from the cradle to the grave’, regardless of someone’s circumstances. It was never intended to treat only the healthiest citizens, while leaving those who are elderly, frail or have expensive ‘underlying conditions’ to simply die.

Rationing treatment for covid-19

Rationing healthcare increased over the last few years, it has become the norm. Now, it has become very clear that treatment for covid-19 is going to be rationed. We have moved a long way from universal health care. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have already introduced guidelines for establishing treatment ‘ceilings’, based on who they think is likeliest to survive covid-19. However, we have no way of knowing in advance of treatment if someone actually will survive.

Formal guidance says GPs should “proactively complete DNAR (do not resuscitate) forms, in advance of a worsening spread of coronavirus.”

People over 80 years old, and high risk groups are now being contacted about signing the “do not attempt to resuscitate” forms. This approach is firmly embedded in coronavirus planning and provision amid concerns over a lack of intensive care beds during the worsening coronavirus crisis.

Multiple GPs have said they are talking to patients who are older or in very high risk groups about signing “do not attempt to resuscitate” forms in case these patients were to go on to contract the virus. Some practices have also sent out letters to patients requesting they complete the forms, it is understood.

One leader of a primary care network, who asked not to be named, said: “Those in the severe at-risk group and those over 80 are being told they won’t necessarily be admitted to hospital if they catch coronavirus.”

Guidance issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners last week also touched on the issue, saying: “Proactively complete ReSPECT/ DNAR forms and prescribe anticipatory medications in advance of a worsening spread of disease.”

End of life conversations cover prescribing palliative pain relief, so patients aren’t left without the ‘appropriate’ medicines.

It’s understood these conversations are also being had with people living in nursing and care homes.

Jonathan Leach, a practising GP who helped draft the guidance, told Health Service Journal (HSJ) We have a huge role as a college [on this] as we see the volume and type of patients we should be sending into hospital and those we shouldn’t be.”

Type of patient? I wonder if I will be the type of patient that doctors will decide to treat? Or will I simply be left to die at home, because I have comorbid conditions? 

Leach continued: “If covid-19 gets into a care home because residents are mostly vulnerable, we will see a significantly greater number over a shorter period who need this type of [palliative] care. So, part of coping with that is thinking ahead [about having these conversations].”

I always thought that covid-19 gets into any place simply because of its contagion quality, not because of a particular demographic – it doesn’t have any special preferences towards care home residents because they are vulnerable. Vulnerability doesn’t invite more coronavirus infections. That’s why the prime minister, the health and social care secretary and other non-vulnerable ‘clever’ people among the government have also been infected recently. 

Dr Leach called discussing DNARs with people who are not at the end of life but are older or in a high-risk group a “grey area”. He added these decisions “need to be done on a case-by-case basis” but it was “more humane” to do it in advance.

How can leaving someone to die because of deliberately inflicted government funding cuts, based on an artificially constructed ‘type’, be “more humane”? Leach should have met my grandmother, who, in her 90s was probably fitter and more active than he is. Yet she would have conformed to his ‘type’ of patient to be considered for a eugenics by laissez faire approach, based on just her age alone.

Recent guidance issued to hospitals said palliative care conversations with a patient’s family may have to take place remotely, and skilled palliative care teams may not have the capacity to undertake all conversations themselves.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association, which also co-drafted the GP work prioritisation document, said: “Considering, and where possible making, specific anticipatory decisions about whether or not to attempt CPR is part of high-quality care for any person who might be approaching the end of life or who might be at risk of cardiorespiratory arrest.”

That decision – choosing who is and who is not going to be given CPR-  isn’t ‘care’, high quality or otherwise. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) role more generally is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services.

Yet the NICE guidelines concerning treatment provision for covid-19 are founded on a distinctly eugenic rationale: ensuring the ‘survival of the fittest’ only. 

The guidance for the NHS on which coronavirus patients should receive intensive care treatment has heightened fears among disability campaigners that many disabled people will be refused life-saving treatment if they are admitted to hospital.

The guidance, which originates from NICE, says that all adult covid-19 patients should be assessed for “frailty” when admitted to hospital, and that “comorbidities and underlying health conditions should be ‘taken into account’.”

In other words, those who need it most will be the most likely to be denied treatment, based on a fundamentally discriminatory scoring system.

The guidance is in gross violation of the Equality Act, as it will result in discriminatory health care provision and violate the fundamental universal right to life, on the basis of protected characteristics; in particular, those of age and disability. 

The guideline says: “the risks and benefits and likely outcomes should be discussed with patients, carers or advocates and families using decision support tools (where available) so that they can make informed decisions about their treatment wherever possible.

“For patients with confirmed COVID-19, the guideline says decisions about admission to critical care should be made on the basis of medical benefit, taking into account the likelihood that the person will recover to an outcome that is acceptable to them and within a period of time consistent with the diagnosis.”

The Clinical Frailty Scale: NICE’s cold, callous categories of ‘types’ – ‘they’ and ‘these people’: 

Clinical-Failty-Scale
Profound discrimination and human rights violations are deeply embedded in the NICE covid-19 treatment guidelines. The NHS are offering a limited treatment plan, in advance, for those of us considered ‘frail’.

It’s worth noting that China didn’t leave elderly people or those with comorbid conditions to die without trying to save them. In fact some were saved through the sheer persistence of doctors. 

Young and healthy people also die of covid-19. We have no way of knowing in advance if someone will respond to treatment, unless we try it. Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab is the youngest person in the UK, to date, at just 13 years old, to die of covid-19, without his family around him in hospital. And Luca Di Nicola, who was just 19 was also healthy previously. Neither had underlying conditions.

Even when doctors are reasonably sure someone will die, sometimes they don’t

In 2017, I had flu. Within just four days of the start of my symptoms, I ended up with advanced pneumonia and was in septic shock when I arrived at A&E. My prognosis was very poor. At one point I was having chemicals pumped into me to try and raise my blood pressure from off the floor. In the end a doctor decided to try a ‘last resort’ vasopressor (to raise blood pressure and prevent organ failure) called methylene blue, which is injected very slowly (it’s called a ‘slow injection’), because the chemical is dangerous if it accumulates in one spot.

Septic shock happens when a person’s blood pressure drops so low that organs are starved of oxygen, leading to sequential organ failure. If it can’t be remedied quickly, people die because of injured organs. It’s one of the key causes of death in people who are critically ill with covid-19.

But in my case, it worked. OK, so it turned my urine green for days, but here I am, still.

However, if I become critically ill with covid-19, my comorbid conditions will mean I am most likely going to be among those who reach a ‘ceiling’ of treatment, if the NHS is overwhelmed. One of the key reasons people die of covid-19 is because it causes severe pneumonia and sepsis. Deciding who may survive those conditions is difficult in advance of treatment. Yet the NICE guidelines show very clearly that those decisions have already been made. 

Eugenics in practice

A GP practice in Wales sent out a letter which recommended patients with serious illnesses complete “do not resuscitate” forms in case their health deteriorated after contracting coronavirus. Llynfi surgery, in Maesteg near Port Talbot, wrote to a “small number” of patients on Friday to ask them to complete a “DNACPR” – do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation – form to ensure that emergency services would not be called if they contracted covid-19 and their health deteriorated.

do not rescusitate

The letter says: “This is a very difficult letter for the practice to write to you,” stating that people with illnesses such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease and pulmonary fibrosis were at a much greater risk from the virus.

I have pulmonary fibrosis. I have to say the letter is probably rather more difficult to receive and read than it was to write. 

“We would therefore like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share … which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because [of] Covid infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted,” it continued.

“Completing a DNACPR will have several benefits,” the letter continues.
“1/ your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999.

 2/ scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have a greater   chance.”

“The risk of transmitting the virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR … is very high. By having a DNACPR form in place you protect your family … [and] emergency responders from this additional risk.”

The letter said that in an “ideal situation” doctors would have had this conversation in person with vulnerable patients but had written to them instead “due to fears they are carrying the virus and were asymptomatic”.

“We will not abandon you,” it said. “But we need to be frank and realistic.”

But the letter makes it very clear that some people’s lives are valued rather more than others. Abandoning those people considered ‘frail’ is exactly what the guidance issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners and NICE outline and this GP surgery are intending to put that into practice. 

The GP surgery said the letter originated from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, which then clarified the recommendation that vulnerable patients complete DNACPR forms was “not a health board requirement.”

“A letter was recently sent out from Llynfi surgery to a small number of patients,” a spokesperson said. “This was not a health board communication.

“The surgery have been made aware that the letter has caused upset to some of the patients who received it. This was not their intent and they apologise for any distress caused. Staff at the surgery are speaking to those patients who received the letter to apologise directly and answer any concerns they may have.”

The letter went viral on social media and one person said a nurse practitioner had recently visited her father, who is receiving palliative care, to also request he sign a DNACPR form.

The NHS currently has 8,175 ventilators and has said it needs 30,000 more to deal with an expected peak of covid-19 patients, while the health service is reportedly attempting to increase its intensive care capacity sevenfold amid fears the full effect of the pandemic could be overwhelming.

There is a lack of personal protective equipment across the NHS despite renewed efforts to provide ambulance crews, GP surgeries and hospitals with the masks, visors, gloves and aprons that help prevent coronavirus transmission. At least three healthcare workers have already died from the virus.

Doctors in the UK must consult with patients or their families if they decide that resuscitation would not be effective or that complications would result in more pain. Families can seek a second opinion but apparently, the decision is ultimately a “medical judgment” to be made by a doctor.

Based on the damning guidelines issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners and NICE .

So the ‘collateral damage’ due to years of Tory governments systematically underfunding the NHS is an uncivilised denial of medical support for those who need it most, based on a distinctly eugenic logic.

It took just two months into a global pandemic to scrape away the thin veneer of civilised democracy, equality principles and our standard of universal human rights.

Once the coronavirus crisis subsides, we must never forget that those of us with ‘underlying’ medical conditions were considered expendable in order to ensure those who generally needed medical intervention the least got it at the expense of others, because of government priorities, which are never about ‘uniting and levelling up’.  

Universal health care was destroyed by the Conservative governments of the last decade, and has been replaced by calculated, cost-cutting eugenic practices based on a deeply ingrained antipathy towards groups with protected characteristics, but in particular, towards those citizens with any degree of frailty.

A doctor in Spain breaks down, as he describes how people over 65 years old with Covid-19 are being sedated and left to die, so that younger people may have priority for treatments and support, such as ventilators.

In the UK, NICE have drawn guidelines that set out who will get priority for treatment for the coronavirus. Not those most in need. Those most likely to survive anyway will have priority access to treatment. Elderly people and those who have underlying conditions will simply have isolation to protect them.

Universal health care and the universal right to life have become conditional. The  universal human rights that were fought hard for and earned are now a distant memory.

The Conservatives have systematically eroded both human rights and universal health care provision. The latter because of deliberate and chronic underfunding.

Scratch the surface of right-wing neoliberal ‘libertarianism’ and there lies a deeply embedded eugenic ideology.

The NICE guidelines have introduced the notion that our society requires triage, not as a last resort, but as a preemptive measure. It seems some people are considered too expensive to save. The NICE document separates human life into blunt categories. In one small group of boxes, there are people deemed to be worth saving. In the others, there are groups of people who, it has been decided, ought to be just left to die.  As cheaply as possible.

What is outlined in the NICE guidelines and clarified in the  and letter from the GP practice is not quite mass murder, but it is a sort of pre-planned, homicide by lack of funding, indifference and laissez faire.

The arguments presented for triage on the basis of ‘frailty’ are arguments from the eugenicist right wing. The fact that those who designed the guidelines think the elderly and the ill are acceptable losses is something we should remember long after the pandemic is over. This tells us the neoliberal obsession with ‘market forces’ was not about human potential or a flourishing society, nor was it about, productivity and abundance, but about something else.

For the high priests of ‘small government’ and market fundamentalism, citizens are expensive, especially if they need regular medical care. And the NHS should provide that care, because WE pay for it. The real drain on our health care is the increasing number of private company ‘providers’  who are draining vital funds into piles of private profits.

The UK will emerge from pandemic with its hierarchy still intact, and its elite shielded from the grim realities and disadvantages that ordinary people face. Those citizens who need things such as public services (perish the thought), well, they will continue to be regarded by the powers that be as ‘life unworthy of life’.

This is a government, lets not forget, that decided initially to run a dangerous, pseudoscientifc experiment on ‘herd immunity’ and ‘behavioural change’. That didn’t work of course. No-one knows if having covid-19 leads to immunity after recovery. Or for how long. Some viruses simply mutate. A good example is H3N2 strains of influenza. My entire family had it over Christmas in 1968. I was very young, and remember my mother said we had “Hong kong ‘flu”.

H3N2 evolved from H2N2 by antigenic shift and caused the Hong Kong Flu pandemic of 1968 and 1969 that killed an estimated one million people worldwide. In 2017, I got it again. It’s a particularly nasty strain that the ‘flu vaccination can’t protect people from, and has become increasingly resistant to antivirals such as Tamiflu. In the years that H3N2 circulates, more people are hospitalised with ‘flu complications. Partly because this virus simply changes itself to dodge defeat. The second time I got it, I ended up with pneumonia and in septic shock, as outlined earlier.

You’d think parasites like viruses would have evolved to find ways of not killing their hosts off. It’s hardly in their best interests after all.

It’s almost the epitome of neoliberal commodificationism and consumerism.

My point is, we simply don’t know if people who have covid-19 are immune afterwards. No-one does.

The NICE guidelines have introduced the notion that our society requires triage,  not as a last resort, but as a preemptive measure. It seems some people are considered of less worth than others, and too expensive to save. 

Now we know that our current government, with it’s apparent ease in sliding towards eugenic solutions, are never going to be the cure for all of our ills.

On a global scale, covid-19 has thrown the evils of neoliberal economic systems – especially embedded inequality, the systematic erosion of fundamental human rights and the fragility of democracy – into sharp relief.

And some governments’ indifference to the lives and deaths of populations.

We must never forget this; the government believe that one life is worth less than another – some lives can so easily be regarded as expendable.

 


It is easier than ever before for those with vested interests to spread disinformation on vital matters of public interest. It’s happening every day.

If you want to know what’s really going on, you need to hear from the those willing to dig down to the truth. But I can’t do that vital work unless readers donate.

Please consider making a donation. That ensures I can continue to research, write independent articles and support others facing the injustices of Conservative anti-welfare policies.

At the moment I am struggling to get by in quarantine. I rely on online shopping at the moment, but most supermarkets are fully booked up, even for ‘click and collect’ slots. That leaves me with the only desperate option of buying food and essentials on ebay and other sites where prices have been spectacularly hiked.

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I have SLE, so I’m staking my claim on hydroxychloroquine

 

lupoma

I can’t manage without my medication for systemic lupus erythematosus (otherwise known as SLE or lupus). Not being able to access my essential treatment places me at a significantly high risk of serious infections more generally, and specifically to covid-19 or a relapse, with severe complications such as severe pneumonia and sepsis.

I was prescribed hydroxychloroquine in 2017 by my rheumatologist following life-threatening complications when I caught ‘flu. It happened during a flare-up of my autoimmune illness symptoms. Because lupus often lowers people’s immunity to pathogens, it leaves us vulnerable to severe infections and an abnormally aggressive immune response that causes inflammation throughout the body, and damages organs – sepsis. Within a couple of days of starting with ‘flu symptoms, I had advanced pneumonia and arrived at A&E already in septic shock. I very nearly died. 

Many of the treatments used to treat severe lupus are immune suppressants. These also lower peoples’ resistance to infections, as do steroids, also commonly used to treat the widespread inflammation that autoimmune illness causes. I was originally prescribed injections of a chemotherapy called methotrextate to halt the advance of my illness.

I also periodically need slow release steroid injections to manage severe symptoms. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial drug that was originally used to prevent malaria. Studies show that it offers some protection for lupus patients with high risk of mortality from severe infections, such as pneumonia, kidney infections and sepsis.

It is the only medication shown to increase survival in lupus patients. It has been shown to reduce lupus flares and prevent organ damage including cardiovascular events, according to Andrea Fava and Michelle Petri in the Journal of Autoimmunity. 

More recently, hydroxychloroquine has been researched for use in treating dengue, zika virus and HIV. It is a powerful antiviral.

That is why it has gained attention from governments around the world as a potential treatment for covid-19.

Recently, the UK government has banned the parallel export and “hoarding” of three drugs being used to treat coronavirus patients in China in anticipation of shortages in Britain following the covid-19 pandemic.

Parallel exporting is when wholesalers buy medicines already placed on the market in the UK to sell them in another country in the European Economic Area (EEA). Parallel exporting and hoarding of medicines by wholesale dealers can create or worsen medicine shortages.

Chloroquine phosphate and the generic drug hydroxychloroquine (both anti-malarials) as well as a couple of other antivirals, are being restricted to “meet the needs of UK patients”, the government has said.

However, it wasn’t specified which patients’ needs are to be met. It’s emerged since that the government clearly didn’t mean lupus patients like me who depend on the drug to prevent our illness from becoming life-threatening.

While the infection rate and severity of covid-19 remain moving targets for much of the general public, people who suffer from lupus are immunocompromised, placing us at significantly higher risk of becoming seriously ill. In addition, many people with lupus have a complement deficiency, which makes us even more vulnerable to serious infections. The blood complement system involves both the innate and the adaptive immune systems.  Systemic lupus erythematosus is associated in particular with low C3 and C4.

Hydroxychloroquine was placed on the restricted list from 14 March and chloroquine phosphate – an older anti-malarial, was added on 26 February.

Following Donald Trump’s personal take on public pharmaceutical advice regarding the treatment of covid-19 with chloroquine, a man in Arizona died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate – believing it would protect him from contracting coronavirus. His wife also ingested the chemical and is receiving critical care. She said they had watched the US President  speaking about the potential (but unverified) benefits of chloroquine treating coronavirus during televised briefings.

However, the toxic ingredient the couple in their sixties consumed was not the medication form of chloroquine used to treat malaria and autoimmune illness in humans, but the ingredient listed on a fish tank cleaning agent, which is used to treat parasites in fish.

As someone who takes hydroxychloroquine every day, and who was clinically assessed as having covid-19 two weeks ago, when the symptoms I’d already had a month by then took a turn for the worst, I can say with confidence that the drug does not prevent infection with the coronavirus. I can say, however, that perhaps my daily dose is a reason why I didn’t end up needing intensive care support. That said, I’m still treading water with symptoms six weeks from the onset, though at least the awful chest pain has receded. 

The UK government says: “Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not licensed to treat covid-19 related symptoms or prevent infection.

“Clinical trials are ongoing to test chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as an agent in the treatment of covid-19 or to prevent covid-19 infection. These clinical trials are still not completed, so no conclusions have been reached on the safety and effectiveness of this medicine to treat or prevent covid-19.

Until we have clear, definitive evidence that these treatments are safe and effective for the treatment of covid-19, they should only be used for this purpose within a clinical trial.”

Yet pharmacies are now reporting shortages of hydroxychloroquine.

Hydroxychloroquine is a front line medication taken by approximately 90% of lupus patients to control their condition.

LUPUS UK, a national charity, have been receiving an increasing number of reports from people with lupus who have been unable to collect their prescription, with their pharmacist currently unable to order the medication from their suppliers.

The charity says: “We don’t yet know how effective hydroxychloroquine might be against covid-19. What we do know, is that if people with lupus who have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine stop taking this medication, their disease could flare.

“This can in itself be a life-threatening situation, unnecessarily burdening the health service, but it also increases the vulnerability of already at-risk patients to covid-19 infection.

“Given this, we have acted early and written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Matt Hancock) and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer with other member of RAIRDA, asking them to ensure that the supply of hydroxychloroquine to patients remains secure and to look into how we can make this supply even more robust in the coming months.

“On the 24th March 2020 Daniel Zeichner MP submitted a written question to the Department of Health & Social Care;

“To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure a robust supply of hydroxychloroquine to patients reliant on that medication to manage (a) lupus, (b) scleroderma, (c) rheumatoid arthritis and (d) other serious autoimmune rheumatic conditions during the covid-19 pandemic.”

We are awaiting a response.” 

Lupus UK add: “We know that lots of people have had issues collecting their prescription of hydroxychloroquine and want to help us.

Writing to or emailing your local elected representative such as your Member of Parliament (or other local representative such as your Welsh Assembly Member, Member of the Scottish Parliament or Members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland), can be a way of expressing your concerns and supporting RAIRDA’s work asking the government to take early action to prevent any prolonged shortage.

This will not only help patients, but also help reduce demand on the health service at this difficult time.

 

It’s important your letter or email is your own and says why this issue is important to you as a individual, but here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Checking who your MP is HERE. Include your name and address at the beginning or end of your email – politicians can only respond to people who live in their constituency, so make sure you write to the correct MP and show them you’re a constituent. 
  • Using a mix of your own personal story and concerns and facts about the wider context, like the fact a shortage of hydroxychloroquine could mean patients flare and need to go to hospital, putting more burden on the health service at this really difficult time.
  • At the end of your letter, perhaps ask them to raise this issue with the government urgently.
  • You might want to include some general information about hydroxychloroquine, like this below:

Hydroxychloroquine is used to control some rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases like lupus and scleroderma. These can be life-threatening if they aren’t controlled. Tens of thousands of people in the UK therefore rely on this medication. Without this medication patients conditions can flare, which can be really serious, life-threatening, and it can also make people with these conditions even more vulnerable to covid-19.

Shortages of the drug have been reported because it’s being considered as a treatment for covid-19. However, it’s still unproven. While we don’t know much about hydroxychloroquine’s ability to treat covid-19, we do know that it helps patients with conditions like lupus and scleroderma control their diseases, helping them stay relatively well and reducing the burden on the health service.”

If you’re writing to a member of a devolved assembly follow these links to find your local representatives in:

If you have experienced difficulty getting your hydroxychloroquine prescription, please contact Lupus UK here.

More information will be shared as the situation develops.

Image-1-Hydroxychloroquine

If you don’t need it, please leave it for those whose lives depend on it.

See also: Vital drug for people with lupus running out after unproven Covid-19 link

 


It is easier than ever before for those with vested interests to spread disinformation on vital matters of public interest. It’s happening every day.

If you want to know what’s really going on, you need to hear from the those willing to dig down to the truth. But I can’t do that vital work unless readers donate.

Please consider making a donation. That ensures I can continue to research, write independent articles and support others facing the injustices of Conservative anti-welfare policies.

At the moment I am struggling to get by in quarantine. I rely on online shopping at the moment, but most supermarkets are fully booked up, even for ‘click and collect’ slots. That leaves me with the only desperate option of buying food and essentials on ebay and other sites where prices have been spectacularly hiked.

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