Tag Archives: David Cameron

David Cameron says approving PrEP on NHS will “make a difference”

david cameron

David Cameron has announced that he will push the NHS for a decision on PrEP availability “in this month if possible”.

During the Prime Minister’s Questions today, Cameron spoke in favour of funding the Pre-exposure Prophylactic treatment Truvada on the NHS.

Article via GayTimes
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The treatment – which has been approved by the World Health Organisation – is already available for those deemed at risk of HIV in the United States, Canada, France and Israel.

PrEP can reduce people’s chances of contracting the virus if taken daily, however in March this year the NHS decided to prolong their decision instead of making the drug available.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer asked Cameron: “HIV infection rates in the UK are on the rise, and my right honourable friend will be aware that NHS England have refused to fund Pre-exposure Prophylactic treatment.

“Will my right honourable friend agree to meet with me in leading AIDS charities, so that we can review this unacceptable decision?”

The Prime Minister responded: “I think it’s right that [Mr Freer] raises this – it is my understanding that NHS England are considering their commissioning responsibility.

“I want them to reach a decision on this quickly, in this month if possible, because there’s no doubt there is a rising rate of infection. These treatments can help and make a difference.

“We are planning trial sites that are already all underway, we’ve invested £2 million to support these over the next two years. He’s right to raise this and I’ll make sure he gets the meetings he needs to make progress with it.”

Although there are no fixed dates, nor was Cameron very detailed in his answer, this is the most positive reply from the Government about PrEP so far.

Ian Green, CEO at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We welcome David Cameron committing NHS England to making a long overdue decision on HIV prevention game changer, PrEP, this month.

“We urgently need NHS England to make PrEP available for those most at risk. Every day this is delayed, seven men who have sex with men are infected with HIV.”

He also thanked Mike Freer MP for “continuing to champion this life changing HIV prevention tool”.

Want More? – You might find this interesting: David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband praise HIV prevention drug PrEP

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HIV Positive Votes in the General Election 2015

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It’s only a week until the general election on Thursday, 7th May. It looks like being the closest election in living memory, meaning the way you vote could be the most important political decision of your life.

With lots of talk about care, health and the NHS, it’s difficult to see where our political parties position themselves in terms of support for people living with HIV. This isn’t surprising as focus tends to be put on financing and restructuring health and social care, rather than on individual health conditions.

Do you know who your voting for yet or are you still not sure? – If you’re not, you are not alone! Polls show that more people than ever before are still trying to decide which of the parties to support.

Part of the problem is information overload. We’re drowning in fact and figures about politics, claims and counter-claims from the politicians and their spin-doctors. How is anyone supposed to cut through it all to the things that really matter to them?

You may be asking, as a HIV positive individual, what party will ensure my care, and what HIV (or anti-HIV) policies can I expect from our government and now is the time to decide if you prefer to vote for the status quo, or vote for change.

A HIV diagnoses is only part of the issue, what to matters is access to GP’s and ensuring our NHS is adequately staffed to support patients in need of medical assistance. While there’s no direct messages from our political leaders about HIV, (other than sensationalised media reports) we can see their pledges for health & social care which directly affects not just people living with HIV, but for many other people who use public services.

The following information is provided to help give clarity across the parties’ pledges.  We are obviously not advising you who to vote for but we hope this information is useful if you are yet to make up your mind.

What is the main message?

ConsA strong NHS built on a strong economy, prioritising frontline care

 

labWill rescue the NHS, invest in its future and join up services from
home to hospital

lib-d

Quality health for all, with a guarantee of equal care for mental health

 

ukipFund frontline services and encourage a common-sense approach with less political interference

greenA publicly funded, publicly provided NHS and an end to the privatisation of services

How much money have they pledged for the NHS?

ConsA minimum real-terms increase of £8 billion a year by 2020

 

labAn annual £2.5 billion ‘time to care’ fund, paid for by a mansion tax, a levy on tobacco firms and by tackling tax avoidance

lib-dFunding to be £8 billion a year higher by 2020

 

ukipIncrease frontline NHS spending by £3 billion a year by 2020

 

greenAn immediate increase of £12 billion a year, rising to £20 billion a year by 2020, raising some of the extra revenue from higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco

What about social care?

ConsNo commitment to increase social care funding.  A guarantee that no one will have to sell their home to fund residential social care.

labNo commitment to increase social care funding. Year-of-care budgets to incentivise better care at home, an end to 15-minute home care visits and a ban on zero-hours contracts for care workers.

lib-dNo commitment to increase social care funding. Reduce pressure on hospitals by investing £500 million a year in services close to people’s homes.

ukipIncrease social care funding by £1.2 billion a year by 2020

 

greenProvide free social care for older people, spending an additional £9 billion a year by 2020

 

Have they committed to delivering integrated care?

ConsYes – building on the Better Care Fund and proposals to pool £6 billion of health and social care funding in Greater Manchester

labYes – physical health, mental health and social care services to be integrated to provide ‘whole-person care’, with a stronger role for health and wellbeing boards

lib-dYes – all health and social care budgets to be pooled by 2018, a stronger role for health and wellbeing boards and responsibility for social care to be transferred to the Department of Health

ukipYes – fully integrate health and social care funding and responsibilities, under the control of the NHS

greenYes – social care to be provided free at the point of use in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England

 

And do they support the NHS five year forward review?

ConsYes – senior Conservatives have publicly backed it, and their funding commitments are closely tied to it

labIn principle – Andy Burnham has stated his support but made clear Labour would make ‘fundamental changes’ that would alter the assumptions it is based on.

lib-dYes – senior Liberal Democrats have made their support clear, and they were the first party to commit to the £8 billion funding increase it calls for

ukipNo mention of it

 

greenNo mention of it

 

What are their plans to access to services?

ConsAll patients to have access to GPs and hospital care seven days a week by 2020.  Guaranteed same-day appointment with a GP for everyone over 75.

labGuaranteed GP appointments within 48 hours, or on the same day for those who need it.  A maximum one-week wait for cancer tests and results by 2020

lib-dEasier access to GPs, expanding evening and weekend opening, and
encouraging phone and Skype appointments

ukipInitiate a pilot programme to put GPs on duty in A&E departments seven days a week.  Fund 8,000 new GP posts, with 1,000 of these designated to work on duty in A&E departments if the pilot programme is successful

greenProvide local community health centres offering a range of services including out-of-hours care, to sit alongside GP surgeries

 

Have they committed to more staff?

ConsYes – 5,000 more GPs to be trained by 2020

 

labYes – the ‘time to care’ fund would pay for 20,000 nurses, 8,000 GPs, 5,000 care workers and 3,000 midwives

lib-dNo specific pledge

 

ukipYes – an extra 20,000 nurses, 8,000 GPs and 3,000 midwives

 

greenYes – 400,000 jobs to be created across health and social care

 

What pledges have the made about mental health?

ConsEnsure that psychological therapists are available in every part of the country. Ensure that women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy

labIncrease the proportion of the mental health budget spent on children A new right to psychological therapy in the NHS Constitution

lib-dAn extra £500 million a year for mental health services to improve access and reduce waiting times A raft of proposals to improve mental health services, in particular for children, pregnant women and new mothers.

ukipIncrease mental health funding by £170 million a year
End the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments

greenEnsure that spending on mental health rises and that everyone who needs a mental health bed can access one in their local NHS, or within a reasonable distance of their home if specialist care is required.  Eliminate the use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children by 2016, and for adults, other than in exceptional circumstances, by the end of the
next parliament

What are they saying about public health?

ConsReview how best to support people with conditions such as obesity or drug or alcohol addictions to remain in or return to work

labSet maximum limits on levels of fat, salt and sugar in food marketed to children.  Set a new national ambition to improve the uptake of physical activity and take targeted action on cheap, high-alcohol drinks.

lib-dRestrict the marketing of junk food to children. Introduce a tax levy on tobacco companies to contribute to the costs of smoking cessation services and implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol

ukipOppose minimum pricing of alcohol and reverse plain packaging legislation for tobacco products.

greenIntroduce a minimum price of 50p per unit for alcoholic drinks
Extend VAT to less healthy foods, including sugar, spending the money raised on subsidising around one-third of the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables.

 Would they repeal the Health and Social Care act?

Cons No.

 

lab

A bill in their first Queen’s Speech to repeal the Act – this would roll back competition, make the NHS the preferred provider of services and restore the Health Secretary’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service

lib-dNo, but committed to repealing any parts of the Act that make NHS services ‘vulnerable to forced privatisation’ and ending the role of the Competition and Markets Authority in health

ukipNo

 

greenYes – repeal the Act by introducing an NHS Reinstatement Bill to abolish competition and the commissioner–provider split and restore the Health Secretary’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service.

Election Manifestos

You can find all the information above and more policies within the party manifesto’s.  Click on the icons below to visit the party’s manifesto.

ConsConservative

 

labLabour

 

lib-dLiberal Democrats

 

ukipUKIP

 

greenGreen

 

 

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David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband praise HIV prevention drug PrEP

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Story via @pinknews
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The three main political party leaders in the UK have all praised the HIV prevention drug PrEP.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband were all asked about their support for PrEP during a Q&A for GT (Gay Times) Magazine. The drug is taken before sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV.

They were asked: “Do you agree with the National AIDS Trust and other charities that PrEP should be made available on the NHS to gay men who need it as soon as possible?”

Prime Minister David Cameron, despite saying he supported the idea of looking into the drug in principle, said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence would need to make the decision on whether it should be available on the NHS.

He said: “I think it’s fantastic that over the course of the last 30 years, AIDS has gone from being a very serious and fatal disease to one that can be treated – and is now on the cusp of being one that can be prevented. Too many people have lost loved ones and seen friends and families suffer from AIDS, so it’s right that we look very carefully at PrEP. However decisions on individual drug availability are made by the independent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and not politicians – so it’d be inappropriate of me to prejudge their decision.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, added: “The NHS is looking. We’ve had these studies and tests – like the PROUD Study – which appears to have confirmed the clinical effect of the drug in terms of preventing HIV. But the NHS now, quire rightly, is looking at what this actually means. Would it be clinically prescribed? And to who? And for what periods of time? Is it a one-off prescription or is it an ongoing thing? That’s all being looked into at the moment.

“PrEP sounds like a fantastic medical innovation which can keep people safe from HIV infection, but of course, what we wouldn’t want is for people to take it and risk contracting other illnesses and infection because they practice less protected sex. I don’t think we should, under any circumstances, regard any drug as a sort of wonder drug that suddenly means all risk is removed. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the NHS to look at the studies and work things out as they so publicly need to be worked out.”

And Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, also gave his support, saying: “The recent medical evidence that’s come out about PrEP is obviously very positive – it’s a positive step forward. And it could make a real difference. There’s obviously proper clinical processes that we’ve got to go through, with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), to look at this. I’m obviously sympathetic, and the evidence is incredibly encouraging, but this has got to be led medically.”

The move was welcomed by HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT).

Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at THT said: “This cross-party support for PrEP goes to show just how seriously PrEP is being taken as a vital tool in our efforts to reduce HIV transmission in the UK. We need to turn these positive words into action so PrEP can be made available on the NHS for those most at risk as soon as possible.”

A study into the effectiveness of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the UK earlier this year found that the risk of HIV infection was reduced by 86%.

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David Cameron’s HIV Hypocrisy

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Just a few weeks ago David Cameron and other MPs sat in the House of Commons and wore red World AIDS Day ribbons for a community they clearly don’t understand.

“The ribbon is the universal symbol of HIV awareness and it was good to see so many MPs showing solidarity with people who live with HIV in the UK and around the world,”  ​said Cameron in his statement on December 1st. “Whilst the overall number of new diagnoses last year was down slightly on 2010, there was an increase amongst men who have sex with men. And a quarter of people living with HIV don’t know they have it. I am absolutely clear that there can be no complacency in our fight against HIV and AIDS.”

Cameron concluded by saying how the red ribbon is about more than showing solidarity with those living with HIV in the UK and abroad.

“It should also be a spur to increase testing and a symbol of our commitment to carrying on work to reduce infection levels whilst tackling the stigma, discrimination and prejudice often associated with HIV and sexual health.”

But we’ve heard it all before. Politicians deliver compassionate messages one day and deliver crushing blows the next. Despite more and more young people  ​being diagnosed HIV positive because of a lack of information about the issue, the government has announced that there will be ​devastating cuts to the national HIV prevention programme in England.

Funding will be halved for the year commencing April 2015 and there is, as yet, no government commitment to fund further years of the programme. It seems like yet another complete refusal to believe that the most imperative is needed at ground-level.

“This is not the right time for the government to pare back spending on HIV prevention,” says Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at  ​Terrence Higgins Trust. “In recent years, we have made good progress in driving down rates of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV. However, tens of thousands of people with HIV across England are still undiagnosed and at increased risk of passing the virus on unwittingly. We have not yet reached the tipping point in our fight against the epidemic, and halving government spending on HIV prevention now would be a regressive step that risks undermining the headway we have made.”

The government’s ill-considered decision is in direct contradiction to Simon Stevens’ ‘ ​NHS Five Year Forward View‘, released in October. “The future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health,” he wrote. “Twelve years ago, Derek Wanless’ health review warned that unless the country took prevention seriously we would be faced with a sharply rising burden of avoidable illness. That warning has not been heeded – and the NHS is on the hook for the consequences.”

Stevens’ report has been immensely influential and all the main political parties have expressed their support for its vision for the future of the NHS. It is striking that, within weeks of the government stating its support for the health vision of this publication, they are expressly contradicting one if its key tenets – the absolute centrality of prevention if we are to regain control of NHS finances.

“We have not yet reached the tipping point in our fight against the epidemic, and halving government spending on HIV prevention now would be a regressive step that risks undermining the headway we have made”  – Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

In 2004 there were 38,117 people with diagnosed HIV living in England. In 2013, that figure had risen to 74,760. Meanwhile, funding for HIV prevention work has drastically declined during that same period while transmission rates soared. Rather than increasing its efforts to tackle the spread of HIV and the existing stigma, the government’s response is to further squeeze the sector of its resources.

What’s more shocking still is how the government cuts affect two specific minority communities. The national HIV prevention programme focuses on two groups – men who have sex with men, and black African men and women. Yusef Azad of  ​National AIDS Trust agrees that the government is ignoring the needs of these communities.

“HIV is a health inequalities issue, since it disproportionately affects these minorities. Were British-born heterosexuals seeing the same percentages getting HIV as gay men and Africans there would be immense efforts by government to address the problem. When gay men and Africans experience such a public health crisis the response is to reduce further already inadequate funding.”

What this farce highlights is that the government, yet again, is looking for short-term gain at long-term sacrifice. Save money today, but let’s not think about the consequences of tomorrow.  Azad agrees. “All governments pay lip-service to this principle and to the fact prevention is cost-effective and often cost-saving. It is only in a time of budgetary pressure that we learn whether they really mean it.

Preventing just one HIV transmission saves the public purse ​£360,777, according to recent modelling. The national prevention programme pays for itself many times over. “This cut will not save £1 million, says Azad. “It will mean spending many millions in preventable treatment costs.”

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Messages of Support from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband

Messages of support from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK.

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