The Ashya King Case Is the Tipping Point for Britain to Re-Assess Its Entrenched, Left Wing Religion: The NHS
The name ‘Ashya King’ was mentioned three times during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. That’s no surprise – the case of the five year old boy whose parents were arrested trying to get him the treatment that they wanted for his brain cancer has raised a lot of questions: about the role of the police in the affair; about the legitimacy of the actions of the Crown Prosecution Service, and whether the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), introduced to prevent terrorism, is being grossly misused.
But it was notable that the words 'National Health Service' or 'NHS' were not once spoken in relation to this case. Not by the Members of Parliament questioning the Prime Minister, nor by the Prime Minister himself. There has been no real discussion of Southampton General Hospital’s role in creating the scandalous situation in the first place.
Yet there should be. Brett King, the boy’s father, upon his release from the Spanish prison in which he was being held was unequivocal about his reasons for taking his young son to Spain: “They [the British doctors] were going to kill him in England or turn him into a vegetable.”
For those not familiar with the case, the Kings had been researching treatments for their son’s condition on the internet and had discovered that proton beam radiotherapy is used in most of Europe and in the United States. It is thought to give better long term outcomes for children suffering from brain cancer than older radiotherapy technologies as the beam can be pinpointed to target cancer cells only.
However, the treatment is not yet available on the NHS, and, although some patients do receive NHS funding to travel to America for the treatment, very few cases are authorised because the treatment is expensive.
The Kings had offered to fund the treatment themselves by selling their holiday home in Marbella, Spain, but in that scenario the British doctors would have had to pass the boy’s medical paperwork on to which ever private clinic was chosen.
Mr King alleges that his doctors refused to do so, ignored his written request for the paperwork to be transferred, and threatened to obtain a protection order if they continued to question his treatment plan which would have prevented the parents from seeing their son.
Breitbart London spoke to an NHS hospital doctor and asked whether this could really have happened. He was unsurprised, telling me that the detail that the claim to have received no reply to their written request rings true: “If they [the NHS] didn’t write back, then they’ve never given you a refusal letter,” he said, adding “Welcome to the NHS – full of tricks.”
The claims were also supported by Ros Barnes, mother of a boy who also suffered from brain cancer at a young age. Her family was able to raise money to take her son, Alex, to America for the proton beam treatment that the Kings were seeking.
Speaking to the media over the last few days, she attested that the British doctors had tried to persuade her not to go ahead with the proton beam treatment: "When we were told that he had to have radiotherapy and that his tumour had come back, we were told that because he was only four, it would cause significant brain damage, he might be in a wheelchair or deaf or blind - if he made it at all,' she told ITV's Good Morning Britain.
"So when I asked the NHS about proton therapy, the oncologist said it's not tried and tested and if you go over there [to the United States], they're only after your money.
"And I said well, they can have my money. If it works, I don't care. We'll get him there and we'll do what we've got to do.
"Most of the doctors I spoke to advised against it. Obviously it saved his life. He's here and he's perfect."
Her statement perfectly sums up the institutional bias within the NHS against any form of therapy that is costly. This is unsurprising for an organisation that is, by its very nature, permanently budget restricted (increasingly so as the population of Britain shoots ever upwards). There also seems to be a cultural belief that private must mean dishonest, as though paying medical professionals to successfully treat one’s son is in some way a scam.
Mr King also claims that that the doctors at the hospital were fully aware that he had taken Ashya abroad for alternative treatment, something which is denied by the Southampton doctors. The media coverage during the first 48 hours of Ashya’s disappearance from hospital certainly made much use of words like “kidnapped” and "stolen" as the doctors stressed that Ashya’s life was in immediate danger.
That has now been clearly proved to have never been the case, as Ashya was delivered to the hospital in Málaga in a healthy condition, having been properly fed and cared for during the entire journey to Spain.
Yet no apology has been forthcoming, either from the police, who merely say they were acting on advice from the doctors, nor from the doctors themselves. Indeed, the British doctors are still insisting that they know best, and are still refusing to release Ashya’s paperwork to the Prague clinic unless Ashya is delivered back to the UK for two courses of chemotherapy first, which will take several weeks to complete.
As Ashya is now officially a ward of court at the request of Portsmouth City Council, meaning that the courts and not his parents are his legal guardians, his parents and their lawyers are being forced to contest this course of action in the Spanish courts, a process that in itself could take some weeks.
This failure to back down is indicative of a system that is never truly held to account. The Care Quality Commission is meant to ensure patient safety, yet was found, to cite just one example, to have covered up its own internal review of a 2010 inspection into a Cumbria hospital in which 16 babies and two mothers died. The inspection had declared the hospital safe.
Last year, 13,000 needless deaths that took place 2005 and 2008 across 14 Trusts were uncovered with no apology forthcoming – although the medical director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, who wrote the report, did apologise to shadow health secretary Andy Burnham for the subsequent Conservative attacks on his record as health minister during Labour’s rule.
Martin Yeates, who was the chief executive of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the first to be investigated, was suspended on full pay once the deaths became apparent, and later resigned. He has since been awarded a substantial pay out in a ‘compromise agreement’, in return for his silence on the matter. In 2012 he was made Chief Executive of Impact Alcohol and Addiction Services.
Between 2009 and 2011, a total of £14.7million of taxpayers’ money was spent on almost 600 compromise agreements, most of which included gagging clauses to silence NHS whistle blowers. £13 million had been spent on the enquiry Mid Staffs enquiry by 2013. Yet only £1million was paid in compensation to the families of those needlessly killed. On average, they received just £11,000.
Cancer survival rates in the UK are below that of almost every other Western European country according to Cancer Research UK. The UK also trails Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand for cancer survival. But woe betide any parent who dares to question whether alternative treatment abroad might be more effective. Mr King has said that he was treated like a “terrorist” for daring to seek alternative treatment.
As the Prime Minister this week defended the legislation that allows for European Arrest Warrants on the grounds that EAWs are useful in tracking down terrorists, Mr King is exactly right.
Margaret Thatcher’s Chancellor Nigel Lawson once famously said that the National Health Service is “the nearest thing the English have to a religion.” When the Islamic religion kills, the response is widespread revulsion and condemnation. Rightly so.
Yet when loving parents question NHS orthodoxy and attempt to save their son from sacrifice at the NHS alter, the full weight of the authorities combine to chase them across Europe and fling them in a foreign jail. At least public opinion was on their side.
Obscenely, Stafford Hospital, known to have caused 1,200 “unnecessary deaths” (another word for ‘unnecessary death’ being ‘murder’), is now the subject of a grassroots “Save our Hospital” campaign. Protestors have set up a camp outside the hospital in protest at the planned service downgrade and the loss of maternity services and plan to unfurl the world’s largest banner made from bed sheets.
This is the hospital from which maternity nurses were struck off the nursing register for falsifying reports in order to cover up actions which led to the death of a new mother.
Meanwhile, Julie Bailey, who founded the Cure our NHS campaign following the death of her mother at Stafford Hospital was subjected to abuse in the streets, suffered her mother’s grave being desecrated, and was eventually hounded out of her home by those who blamed her for the hospital being downgraded.
Against this background, it is surprising that as few as 65 percent of our parliamentarians believe there is no political will to engender change in our NHS, let alone what is really needed: abolition of the system in exchange for a continental style model.
But the last few weeks have brought with them a general feeling that the tide is turning in British politics. The British are a patient people, but even they reach a tipping point. Whether it’s a Conservative MP defecting to an erstwhile protest party, or a massive march against anti-semitism, or the Prime Minister being forced to take a stronger stance on protecting the country from terrorism, the British people are starting to flex their democratic muscles.
The Ashya King case could be the tipping point required to get people asking whether the NHS is really the envy of the world it is made out to be, and if they decide it is not, to ask: what are the alternatives? But it will take a strong politician willing to speak out against the doctrine of socialised health care. Let’s hope that one amongst the 650 has the integrity to do so.