Twenty-five different cancer treatments will no longer be funded by the NHS in England, health chiefs have announced.NHS England announced the step after it emerged the £280m Cancer Drugs Fund - for drugs not routinely available - was to go £100m over budget in 2014/15.
Some drugs will be removed and others restricted - a move charities say could leave some without crucial treatments.
How interesting it is to see where the axe falls when the NHS needs to tighten its belt. While patients are being deprived of life-saving drugs, let's consider some of the things the NHS has been able to afford in these years of austerity...
Liverpool PCT could find £400,000 to help put up 20 mph signs in residential streets and could find a further £265,000 to fund a 'program of community engagement work on slower speeds'.
Public Health England, whose £600 million budget could fill the funding gap for cancer drugs six times over, found money to produce exciting new guidelines which recommended people heat their homes to 18 degrees Celsius (a radical departure from the previously recommended 21 degrees that we all used to abide by). PHE also called for health warnings to be put on till receipts if people bought 'too much' unhealthy food.
The NHS managed to scrape together £46 million to spend on essential front-line roles such as ‘play and communication worker’, ‘carbon manager’, ‘car park environmental officer’, 'arts in hospital co-ordinator', 'EU office director' and 'green label development co-ordinator'. Very necessary.
Public Health England found £500,000 to give pretend charity Alcohol Concern to promote Dry January, a campaign it had previously run without additional state support and which Cancer Research also runs in the same month. This was in addition to the £450,000 that Alcohol Concern also gets from the taxpayer.
NHS trusts around the country were able to find several million pounds to lobby for plain packaging with prime billboards such as this...
... and, of course, the NHS found the money to tell some of the country's most heavily taxed people how much they loved them and appreciated their hard earned money.
There was also plenty of money available to fund astroturf temperance groups like this and this.
And other lobbyists like this.
And not forgetting this.
Or this, this and this.
And there was just enough money to pay these muppets to go around city centres campaigning for a smoking ban in cars.
But after all that expenditure, there naturally wasn't enough money left for trivial distractions like healing the sick.
After all, people with cancer occasionally make a recovery without any treatment, whereas the nanny state would die tomorrow if it wasn't for taxpayers' money.