Thursday, July 03, 2008

Nucleus Healthcare

I missed the speeches at the official opening of the new £10 million private gastroenterology unit at Celtic Springs Business Park on Monday. I'd been detained at a coffee morning in Welshpool before heading South to Newport. So missed Colin Jackson's ceremonial wielding of the scissors. I'd been keen to go because its such an interesting development.

At the unit, Nucleus Healthcare will treat the full range of problems of the digestive system, but the part of its work that interests me is capacity to carry out colonoscopies. Recently the Assembly Government announced that it was postponing the full introduction of its bowel cancer screening programme for 50-74 year olds until 2015 because there is not sufficient capacity in the NHS in Wales to deal with the number of cases that would be identified, and require a colonoscopy, and subsequent surgery. This private healthcare facility could carry out the colonoscopies - and at 'tariff', which is the same price that the NHS pays for them in England. Now I'm not going to play politics with this issue. It matters too much to me. I realise there are complex arguments, but I do hope that people suffering from bowel cancer are not being required to pay with their lives for some ideological prejudice against using the private sector.

We are all conditioned by our experience, and one those which define the way I think, is personal knowledge that early diagnosis of colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) saves lives. It saved mine. So I'm a advocate of screening and early treatment - and if this can be speeded up by using Dr Manny Srivastrava's spanking new facility, then let it happen.

I really enjoyed the event. Ossie and Angela Jackson, Colin's parents were there to keep an eye on CJ. They are such special people. Angela was a colonoscopist with Dr Srivastrava until she retired. I had met them before at an event in Cardiff, when Colin was being inducted into 'The Hall of Fame' a few years ago. Its easy to understand why Colin Jackson is such an unassuming general 'good guy' with such great parents. I really hope that Nucleus Healthcare's big gamble comes off.


Alwyn ap Huw said...

Now I'm not going to play politics with this issue. It matters too much to me. I realise there are complex arguments, but I do hope that people suffering from bowel cancer are not being required to pay with their lives for some ideological prejudice against using the private sector

Like the ideological prejudice that if you can't afford the private sector you die, because of your financial circumstances?

Anonymous said...

why not play politics - why not use the facility if the NHS is paying in England surely its closer for people in Wales to go to Newport.
Everything is paid for anyway, the NHS is not free, we as taxpayers pay for it through our NI contributions, its just free at the point of access, or should be. People with ideological stances tend to forget that. Nothing is for nothing. Its just those who can afford to pay to run the service and provide for those who cannot contribute. Good neighbours eh.
I am happy with that. Its sign of a caring society

Glyn Davies said...

alwyn - I'm really not sure what point you are making. Why would you oppose the Assembly Government using a private sector facility to carry out colonoscopies, if the cost is the same as it would be if they were carried out within the NHS - when the reason why bowel cancer screening cannot be introduced because of a shortage of colonoscopists. Seems a no-brainer to me.

VM - we think alike here. The Newport unit could well be the best in the UK. Because the developers would have known about the antipathy to using the private sector in Wales, I guess it would have anticipated that most of its business would come from those who choose to pay for a private colonoscopy (and other services) rather than wait because of excessive demand in the NHS. My interest stems from a desire to want to see a bowel cancer screening programme for all over 50s put in place.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I think the NHS should open or have some kind of reciprocal arrangements for British citizens who have paid NI and taxes to the UK Treasury all their working lives to access decent health care in foreign countries. I have heard so many stories now of Brits forced to return to the UK for access to medical care. I don't understand why, for example, Americans resident the UK can get full access to NHS treatment in the absence of reciprocal arrangements for Brits resident in the USA. British seniors who have paid a full life's worth of NI and taxes to the UK Treasury should not have to travel back to the UK for medical treatment. It's got to the point where I am thinking of renting a place in the UK so that my aged mother has a UK address where she can have access to health care that's she has paid into all her working life. Private medical insurance companies in the USA don't want to insure my mother, and even if they did they would not pay for "pre-existing medical conditions". Isn't there supposed to be a 'special relationship' between the UK and the USA?

It's a no brainer to have a reciprocal arrangement given that some 300 thousand Americans resident in the UK get full access to NHS cover - why not have the same thing in reverse for the same number of Brits living in the USA? Saves on green house gases - if a Brit is ill here and doesn't have insurance cover and can't afford paying privately they will likely move back to the UK. American students studying in UK universities get NHS treatment for free, not the same for UK students studying in the USA.

I'm just using America as an example; reciprocal arrangements with other non-EU countries would help 'save the planet' and save a lot of problems for Brits living abroad, particularly seniors who have paid their full share of NI and taxes to the UK Treasury.

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher - interesting comment about which I know little. I expect the reciprocal arrangementss within the EU to develop over the next few years, but know nothing at all about how it works with the US or non-EU countries.