Sunday Times restaurant critic AA Gill has died aged 62, but wrote one last article before he passed.
The journalist passed away aged 62 after recently announcing that he was suffering from “the full English of cancers”. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his neck and pancreas.
In his final column, Gill shared his views on the NHS, which were quite mixed.
On one hand, he praised the NHS for giving him the cancer care he couldn’t afford from his private doctor. However on the other hand, he heavily criticised the service.
“We say it’s the envy of the world. It isn’t. We say there’s nothing else like it. There is. We say it’s the best in the West. It’s not”.
During his care, Gill was told about a life-extending cancer treatment that was the biggest breakthrough in decades. What he was also told is that he couldn’t access it on the NHS. The treatment came at a hefty cost.
The treatment costs £60,000 to £100,000 a year for a lung cancer patient and so was not affordable for Gill. If he had been able to purchase it, the treatment had the power to considerably extend his life.
A consultant oncologist told Gill’s wife Nicola: “If he had insurance, I’d put him on immunotherapy – specifically, nivolumab. As would every oncologist in the First World. But I can’t do it on the National Health”.
The consultant went on to explain that although the treatment isn’t yet a cure, it can give patients more time:
“More life with your kids, more life with your friends, more life holding hands, more life shared, more life spent on earth”. He then added, “But only if you can pay”.
In his article, Gill stated that the NHS is a bad place to get cancer.