UK News: Doctors demand NHS funds Covid drug to protect vulnerable patients

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: I'm All Right Jack is alive and well in our public services

  RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: I'm All Right Jack is alive and well in our public services RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Whatever happened to 'We're All In This Together', the wartime spirit supposed to help us beat the greatest national emergency since 1945? As Britain's economy struggles to recover from pandemic paralysis, half the country is going on strike.Militant trades unions have reverted to type. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Or else.The railways are in meltdown, and not just because the record heatwave has buckled a few tracks. Commuters returning to stations yesterday morning were greeted with notices warning that services will continue to be disrupted for the foreseeable future because of industrial action.

More than 100 doctors have written to the Government demanding that the NHS funds a Covid drug that protect vulnerable patients who don’t respond to the vaccines, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

They have been joined by 19 charities to pen a letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay arguing that the medication is a matter of life or death for Britons with weakened immune systems, such as those with blood cancer or an organ transplant.

The move comes just days after the NHS spending watchdog said it will start evaluating the cost-effectiveness of the £800-a-dose treatment, called Evusheld.

Developed by Covid jab-maker AstraZeneca, it was approved by drug regulators in March after a study showed it reduced the risk of Covid infections by 80 per cent.

Daily habits that might be harming your brain

  Daily habits that might be harming your brain Harrington Flint's Island Adventure has opened at Fantasy Island in Skegness.

The drug stops Covid cells from binding to healthy cells, which is how it infects the body. Even if these vulnerable, so-called immuno-compromised, patients do get infected, they are 50 per cent less likely to be hospitalised and die if they’ve had Evusheld.

Based on these results, 28 countries, including France, America and Israel, have snapped up millions of doses since January – but the UK Government has so far refused to cover the cost.

The NHS spending watchdog is set to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of AstraZeneca's new Covid drug, Evusheld (pictured) © Provided by Daily Mail The NHS spending watchdog is set to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of AstraZeneca's new Covid drug, Evusheld (pictured)

Since Evusheld was ruled safe by regulators four months ago, as many as 500 immuno-compromised Britons have died, according to analysis by the charity Blood Cancer UK shared exclusively with The Mail on Sunday.

How to report a Covid test result and what to do if it's positive, negative or void

  How to report a Covid test result and what to do if it's positive, negative or void Coronavirus infections have been rising again in England, but more than a quarter say they would still go to work if they tested positive . © Reach PLC The NHS asks you to report all Covid-19 test results and not just when they are positive Office for National Statistics data shows 3.8 million were estimated to have coronavirus in the week to July 13/14. That's a rise of seven per cent from the 3.5 million recorded the previous week. This is the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April. But is still below the record high of 4.9 million seen at the peak of the Omicron BA.

Doctors and charities are now calling on the Government to roll out Evusheld to those eligible this autumn, to protect them from the Covid wave expected in the winter.

Dr Lennard Lee, a cancer expert at the University of Oxford and lead author of the statement, said the move would benefit the NHS as well as those who get the drug.

‘Evusheld is likely to reduce demand on hospitals, allowing the NHS to recover while granting immuno-compromised people the freedom that has been taken from them for two years.’

Video: The Brain Tumour Charity outlines the main symptoms (Liverpool Echo)

Charities say many immuno-compromised Britons – of which there are thought to be 500,000 – are still shielding.

‘Many people are anxious and feel like they’ve been forgotten by the Government,’ says Gemma Peters of Blood Cancer UK.

‘Evusheld has potential to ease anxiety, which is why we’re urging the Government to buy and roll out the drug quickly.’

Famous whistleblowers who shocked the world

  Famous whistleblowers who shocked the world Throughout history, there have been many people who, for one reason or another, released classified information. Known as whistleblowers, they have alerted the public about other individuals, governments, or organizations who were secretly involved in illicit or unethical activities. From Edward Snowden to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, some call these individuals heroes, while others see them as traitors. Reality Winner, the whistleblower who leaked a classified document about Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, is sharing her side of the story and emphasizing: "I am not a traitor." Winner, who was hit with the longest sentence ever imposed for unauthorized release of government information to the media, sat down for a '60 Minutes' interview after spending four years behind bars to clear things up. When interviewer Scott Pelley asked Winner about her decision to expose the National Security Agency's knowledge of Russia's interference in the 2016 election, she said, "I knew it was secret. But I also knew that I had pledged service to the American people. And at that point in time, it felt like they were being led astray." CBS reports that the secret report was being kept secret partly because it revealed what the US knew about Russian tactics. Though Winner was charged with espionage, she remains adamant that she was "exposing a White House cover up." Want to know more? Then check out this gallery to discover men and women who risked everything in the pursuit of truth.

The Mail on Sunday was first to reveal that health chiefs had failed to purchase Evusheld a month after its initial approval.

At the time, the Department of Health said further investigations were needed to assess its effectiveness against new Covid variants.

But in their statement, the doctors argue there is now definitive evidence that Evusheld protects the vulnerable from the virus.

On Friday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the NHS spending watchdog, announced a two-week consultation into the costs.

A number of MPs have also called for health chiefs to purchase Evusheld. Tory MP Bob Blackman said protecting the lives of the immuno-compromised must be considered a crucial part of the plan to live with Covid.

‘Evusheld could offer a solution and it is important that the voice of patients and clinicians is heard,’ he added.

One Briton calling for access to Evusheld is Scott Brigden, 47, from Hedon, East Yorkshire, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in March 2021. Since then the oil and gas worker has been forced to shield, as the condition and drugs needed to fight it have a severe impact on his immune system.

Scott and his wife Nikola, 52, have not seen any friends or relatives since then.

‘The only time I’ve left the house is to walk the dog,’ says Scott. ‘Our daughter has just gone to university, and now she has to stay away most of the time.’

Scott believes Evusheld would allow him to resume a more normal life.

‘It’s hard enough to have a blood cancer diagnosis and go through intense treatment. Knowing that I’m being denied a treatment that could give me my life back makes the situation even worse.’

Read more

Why taking painkillers like ibuprofen can make you feel WORSE! .
Angela Putney Hillsley, 46, is from Clacton, Essex. She was sorting clothes out on her bedroom floor with her daughters. When she stood up, she heard a popping sound and pain seared through her left leg.That is the disturbing conclusion of new research by Canadian scientists who analysed what really happens to back-pain sufferers who use anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

See also