Scotland speeds ahead to deliver breakthrough immunotherapy to lung cancer patients thanks to Bristol-Myers Squibb!


That wasn’t BBC Scotland’s story this morning, 19th October at 06:27am. No, it was time for another daily dose of ‘we’re all doomed’ especially for any of you losing the will to stay in the Union, with:

‘Scotland lags behind most of Europe in 5 year survival rates’

It’s true. Scots are still puffing far too many fags. If you look at a UK map of lung cancer survival rates, the risk of not surviving increases as you get further and further away from London. Looking back over say the last century or two, rather than the short period of the SNP government in Holyrood, could that be correlated in any way with long-term neglect of these areas by UK governments? Why do people puff, remind me?

Did we get the good news story headlined above on the 11th? No, there wasn’t time. We had to get ‘Overweight 5 year-olds crisis – Scottish Government needs to do more.’ Here’s my summary of that morning’s reporting:

‘The only other reports were on a stabbing in a school and the Scotland football team. They seemed to miss both the Herald’s ‘Scotland is best place to live in UK, study reveals’ and the Scotsman’s ‘Scotland enjoys highest quality of life in the UK’ reports. Well, we Scots can get a bit too cheery and confident if we’re allowed to. Next thing we’ll be voting for independence!’

So, it might have been informative and balanced but it wasn’t  to remind viewers of this:

Bristol-Myers Squibb today announced that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended the breakthrough and potentially life-extending cancer immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab) to treat Scottish NHS patients with the most common form of advanced lung cancer, locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), where disease has progressed after prior chemotherapy. This recommendation means that Scottish patients will become the first in the UK to be treated with nivolumab on the NHS. The decision broadens funding for the medicine following the SMC approval of nivolumab for a smaller group of NSCLC patients – those with squamous NSCLC – earlier this year. In contrast, nivolumab remains unavailable on the NHS to lung cancer patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’

Ignore the ‘Squibb’ thing and look at the bits I’ve emboldened. It’s great news or would’ve been.

As well as our lung cancer survival rates being a worry, we had bad news today (19th) about Scotrail and people trafficking. Is that the Scottish Government failing to manage the rail contract I wonder? Viewers will know that stopping people trafficking is a reserved matter, won’t they?  On the bright side, we heard that Scottish Government reps are in Brussels to try to arrange a soft Brexit for Scotland so that’s good for their image as a competent government.

There’s still no bad news for the Scottish Tories. Have they had immunotherapy too? BBC Scotland certainly can’t detect any signs of contagion from the toxic UK HQ to its wee Scottish pals.

Running Total:

Running total 21/9/16 to 18/10/16*                     Number of reports

Bad news for SG/SNP                                                            18

Good news for SG/SNP                                                         9

Bad news for Labour                                                              1

Good news for Labour                                                           5

Bad news for Conservative Party (CP)                              0

Missed bad news opportunities for CP                             143 (estimate)

Good news for CP                                                                   3

* Monday to Friday only




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