the pork-bolter
No 79, April 2007

Cancer scandal: Worthing OAP ripped off by the NHS

A WORTHING pensioner recovering from cancer has told The Porkbolter how she has been "ripped off" by the local NHS and forced to go private to get the treatment to which she is entitled.

Her big 'mistake' was to opt for a healthy and cheaper alternative medicine rather than the over-priced and over-hyped products of the powerful pharmaceutical industry. She said: "I feel ripped off. I see a specialist paid by the NHS in premises that belong to the NHS and there are porters and nurses and clerks all paid by the NHS - and I have to pay to go there!"

Her story began a year ago when she was diagnosed with colon cancer and had an operation in Worthing Hospital. She said: "A round of applause for Worthing Hospital because, as it turned out, it is one of a very tiny number of hospitals in this country that use keyhole surgery for bowel problems. I was therefore one of the lucky 4% of patients who got this wonderful operation and I was out of hospital in three days."

Things started to go wrong when she was offered chemotherapy as a follow-up, even though she was told she had an 80% chance of no further cancer, while the chemo would only increase her chances by 3%. She recalled: "I decided on merit that I was probably better off without it, given the highly toxic nature of chemotherapy and the destruction it would wreak on my immune system.

"As a staunch supporter of complementary medicines, I had managed to get in a couple of days at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre prior to the surgery. There I heard about a medicine called Iscador, which is derived from the mistletoe plant. It was discovered by Rudolph Steiner 70 years ago and has been in widespread use since then, particularly in Germany. There have been many papers written about Iscador. It works by giving a huge boost to the killer cells of the immune system and it also shrinks hard tumours."

The OAP asked to be referred to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital in Great Ormond Street for treatment with Iscador. But West Sussex Primary Care Trust (PCT) refused to fund the treatment on the basis of their policy decision not to fund 'complementary' treatments, including homeopathy. They did, however, suggest that if her own GP or her oncologist were prepared to refer her to the RLHH, they could pay for her treatment.

On the surface, this seems like a helpful suggestion. But a letter from her central Worthing GP surgery, which The Porkbolter has been shown, reveals that the PCT was still blocking her referral behind the scenes. The surgery noted that in May 2006 "We spoke to the PCT re Iscador and were advised that the GP should not prescribe it due to lack of evidence."

The oncologist also declined to refer her on the basis that Iscador is not an 'evidence based' treatment. Referring to this, our OAP states that over the 70 years Iscador has been in use there have been countless trials conducted and evidence presented. However, since no pharmaceutical company is involved and there are no vast profits to be gained, this evidence has been ignored in the UK.

A possible appeal route, through the Patient with Individual Needs (PIN) scheme, was also blocked by the PCT. The surgery sent in an application on June 6 and in its letter noted that on June 30 "The PCT replied that the PIN panel could not deal with the issue." Condemning the PCT's dubious behaviour, the OAP commented: "They are saying they could pay for the treatment if my GP referred me, but they are also telling my GP not to refer me! They never put anything in writing. They're like a body that's wreathed in mystery."

The disgraceful end result has been that the OAP has had to refer herself privately to an NHS hospital, the Royal London Homeopathic.

Many treatments for cancer are notoriously expensive, especially the hugely expensive (and hardly tried and tested) Herceptin, which costs 20,000 a course. But the Iscador injections, which the OAP administers herself, cost just 18 a week. With consultations the cost of her treatment is approximately 1,200 a year.

She said: "This is a lot of money to me as I am living on a low income, but it is very little compared to most modern treatment costs and would hardly break the budget of the NHS into which I have been paying all my working life."

* If any readers feel Iscador treatment might help with their cancer we will happily pass on their requests for information to our friendly OAP.


Mobile phones - an inconvenient truth

WE ALL know that 'passive smoking' is bad for you - that's why lighting up is on the no-no list everywhere you go these days. But what what about 'passive' radiation from other people's mobile phones and the masts which are springing up all over the porkin' place? Nothing to worry about? A stupid fuss about nothing?

Not according to Robert Kane, PhD, former Motorola Senior Research Scientist, who has gone public with his conscience. He says: "Recent research indicates that even short-term exposure to radiation power densities emanating from a nearby cell phone suffices to modify brainwaves, affect short-term memory, and modify an individual's ability to perform physical tasks such as driving an automobile.

"Every time someone in an automobile next to you activates his cell phone or someone at a table in a restaurant near to you activates her phone, your brain is being irradiated. The cell phone users also include everyone nearby by bringing everyone into the high-risk pool.

"The available research indicates that the operation of a nearby cell phone exposes a non-user to radiation, some of which is deposited into the brain of the non-user, at levels higher than necessary to elicit undesirable biological effects even though the phone may be more than ten feet away from him. "After that cell phone user departs, he leaves behind, within the brain of every nearby person, the residual effects and damage. These are effects and damage known to the scientific community but not acknowledged by the industry placing their products into the commercial stream."

This ties in with the views of a group of European doctors who in 2002 launched a global petition entitled The Freiberger Appeal.

They wrote that they had observed "a dramatic rise in serious and chronic diseases", including extreme fluctuations in blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes among younger people, brain degeneration, leukaemia and brain tumours.

They put this down to "installation of a mobile telephone sending station in the near vicinity, intensive mobile telephone use, and installation of a Digital Cordless (DECT) phone at home or in the neighbourhood".

In other words, if we think we can carry on like this, we all need our heads examining - in more ways than one!

For more info go to www.mastsanity.org.


Dome questions go unanswered

AFTER years of brave campaigning by James Pearson and his colleagues at Save Worthing's Dome, the issue has at last broken through to the mainstream, with a series of reports in the Worthing Herald. But there are still a number of key points that have not seen the light of day in the town's weekly newspaper.

One of the key issues arises from Worthing Dome Regeneration Trust chairman AR Brown's insistence that the trustees give "their time without any remuneration". But the Trust's financial returns for 2004-05 clearly state a figure of 7,479 for directors' emoluments (salary/fees).

And trustee Colin Bradshaw, who owns several liquor supplies companies (Latin Spirits and Beers, New World Wines and Sussex Victuallers) is listed in the returns as having sold 12,488 worth of alcohol to Worthing Dome Limited. This has been an ongoing arrangement between the Trust and the trading company (whose only directors are also trustees), Mr Bradshaw supplying the alcohol for all the weddings and functions held at the cinema.

Another key point is the status of Trustees. Mr Brown stated in his Herald letter that he has been personally involved with the Dome since 1993. Certainly he has been a Trustee of the WDRT and director of WDL since 1999, as has Mrs Stennett. Mr Bradshaw has been a trustee since at least 2002. However, the WDRT Trustee annual reports from 2001 to 2005 all insist: "Trustees are required to retire in rotation at Annual General Meetings on a 3 year cycle."

So why are Mr Brown, Mrs Stennett and Mr Bradshaw still trustees? And who are the other 'mystery' trust members? Surely, this should be public knowledge?

The biggest issue of all is, of course, where all the money has gone, with the supposedly refurbished Dome still leaking water and closed to the film-loving public. It seems the "the largest Lottery grant in West Sussex", part of a 2.2 million project, has been used up without creating a cinema fit to show films.

So what has gone wrong here? And why does the Trust remain vague and unspecific on this point? If there are so many problems, with the building why won't the trust just list them in a transparent and understandable way? Have they got something to hide?

You can find the unedited text of Mr Pearson's letter, plus contact details for the campaign, at www.savetheworthingdome.cjb.net


Join the T-Day celebrations!

ON MAY 28 it will be T-Day, exactly a year since those plucky eco-protesters set up Camp Titnore in Durrington to try and save the ancient woodland from the property developers' bulldozers.

As we went to press they were still very much there - and keen to celebrate their first birthday stronger than ever.

But building a tree camp and defending it against eviction needs constant supplies. And supplies, in turn, cost money.

The trouble is that the people campaigning for Titnore in Worthing have found they are not very good at fundraising. They are quite skilled at holding placards, shouting in the street and handing out leaflets and have managed to bring in some money this way with the town stalls. But with these proving problematic, thanks to political police interference, the campaigners have discovered they are totally useless at raising money in any other way.

The daft thing is, though, that people in Worthing raise money for good causes all the time, through sponsored events, jumble sales, raffles, quiz nights or just a plain old whip-round. But the people who are good at organising that sort of stuff are not necessarily the same kind of people that are going to be found living up a tree or marching angrily on the police station.

So we are launching a call for the non-protesting people of Worthing, who support the battle to save Titnore Woods, to come forward and show the incompetent protesters how it should be done.

In the run-up to the Titnore Birthday on May 28, let's have a month of mini fundraising efforts all over the area, in people's homes, in pubs, church halls. Email porkbolter@hushmail.com if you'd like us to publicise your event. And keep an eye on this site or the Protect Our Woodland website for details on what the camp needs and how to get it to them.


No craic for the kids!

WHAT is it about Worthing that seems to attract the worse kind of po-faced miserable killjoys? Their latest assault on the joyous well-being of the rest of the population came on the unlikely occasion of Flash Company's celebration of St Patrick's Day at the Pavilion on March 17.

The popular Irish folk outfit have been hosting the party for 12 years and it has always been a 'family night'. Children have always been encouraged to come and enjoy themselves alongside adults in one of the only child-friendly concerts on the South Coast.

But this year it seems there were many complaints about the children dancing and restricting the use of the dance floor for the adults, with the result that the band was asked to make an announcement and bring the kids' fun to an end.

Comments our reporter at the event: "Are Worthing's adults so intimidated by children that they can't share the dance floor? These complainants should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. What could be more beautiful than watching children enjoying themselves? As far as I know, this is the first year where complaints have been made, so one wonders if these people didn't know what to expect and my suggestion is... If you don't like it don't bother to come next year!"


Sustainable global greed...

BRITAIN'S leading business organisation is doing its bit to save the planet! Following discussions with David Cameron's eco-cuddly Conservative Party, The Institute of Greed is to rename itself the Institute of Sustainable Greed. Explained spokesman Richard Smug: "We have already pledged to reduce the wages of our lowest-paid staff, to ensure they can no longer afford to splash out on environmentally damaging goods, and I have personally planted over six tulips in my back garden to offset the carbon emissions from my recent fact-finding trip around the world exploring ways in which anti-terrorism laws can be applied to intransigent and inflexible workforces in the developing world. I think this proves we care."


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

WE ARE delighted to report that the Worthing Freecycle scheme, whose launch we reported last year, has gone from strength to strength, with more than 800 members. The idea is that instead of throwing things away, people advertise they have something to get rid of, and the chancs are there will be someone out there who wants it, whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano, an old door or a complete set of Porkbolter back issues. The main rule is that everything must be free. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/worthing-freecycle
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WORTHING Alliance is still meeting on the last Thursday of every month at The Rest in Bath Place. This is not so much an organisation, as a forum for all sorts of campaigning groups (but not political parties of any colour!). Meetings start at 8pm, all are welcome and the next dates are April 26 and May 31.
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THE SORT of people banged up in the notorious Alcatraz prison in the USA are often murderers. But Philip Grosser was sent there because he refused to murder anyone - in the bloodbath of the First World War. His experiences as a conscientous objector are published in Alcatraz, 3 from the Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London WC1N 3XX. www.katesharpleylibrary.net


Vote for the authorities!

CITIZENS should take advantage of their cherished freedom to vote at the local elections in May - before they are forced to go the ballot box under threat of imprisonment. This was the persuasive message from the Minister for Obedience yesterday.

He added: "The British democratic system has worked very well for a long time now, with healthy participation in the electoral process providing the authorities with the visible mandate they need to carry out the policies they judge to be in the best interests of the nation. However, an increasingly large number of selfish individuals now seem to be turning their noses up at the splendid choice of upstanding politicians on the ballot papers and refusing to take part. I would warn them that they have a positive duty to cast their vote, regardless of whether they "agree" with the candidates' views or "trust" any of them. If they are not prepared to do so of their own free will, they may be forced to do so under threat of imprisonment. Personally I believe that a spell in jail for refusing to support our political system would remind these types how grateful they should be to live in a country where democracy and freedom have always flourished."


Pig out in our news trough!

THE PORKBOLTER is proud to be the only source of news in Worthing provided by unpaid local volunteers. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of 3 or more payable to The Porkbolter at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.. Free e-mail subscriptions are also available. Send e-mail to porkbolter@eco-action.org.

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no clearly marked distinction between fact and satire, but we're sure you can work it out...


and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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