The one thing we all know is that cancer does not wait for anything. It continues on it’s destructive path no matter what is happening in the world, showing no respect to any human in it’s way. My belief is that it is the modern day plague. On most days our media will contain stories about food, pollution and lifestyle encouraging the relentless charge of cancer. Also we hear about wonderful new treatments that might change our lives in the future. We have indeed made some progress over the years with approximately 50% of us actually living with the disease rather than dying of it. But our chances of being directly affected by cancer have got worse, going from 1 in 3 to just 1 in 2! We have already reached the stage where it is very rare to find anyone who’s family or friends have not been impacted by the disease!
There have been some monumental changes in world politics in recent years where it now seems to be all about egos and publicity rather than action and achievement. All of the key politicians around the world are jostling for position and seek self publicity in their ever increasing quest for fame and front page headlines. No longer content to quietly go about their work and let their successes speak for themselves. We seem to have reached deadlock around the globe with no fresh ideas or faces with any real credible way of changing this stale way of working. We seem to have accepted this as the new way of working, by people who no longer represent our values and needs. They are caught up in self preservation mode, saying and doing the things they need, to help them stay employed.
In the UK I am yet to see any politician that is a ‘leader,’ capable of dragging us out of the current paralysis facing our country. Let’s remember that these people are well paid to argue with each other in the present system. Unlike people working in business, where they are paid to find a solution! Whilst the foundations of our country slowly rot we are encouraged to look into politicians private lives and dig dirt on them! Great healthcare is one of the pillars that our country is built on, and because of the lack of positive actions by successive Governments, our systems and infrastructure are slowly crumbling. Primary and social care in complete chaos due to lack of funding and any credible forward thinking. Hospitals and clinicians working beyond full capacity most of the time, as waiting lists increase. This is only summer so I dread watching news headlines once the weather turns colder!
My work involves me in almost all aspects of the cancer journey. As a patient I am frequently at hospital and as an advocate I meet with many politicians. Many refer to me as a ‘disrupter’ in the cancer sector (of which I am proud!) In my role at SimPal I speak daily with either service providers of patients, both telling me how disorganised things are for people surviving cancer. As I mentioned previously in my piece we cannot afford to wait like politicians want us to. Most major cancer work and policy is awaiting key decisions to be made by Government, many of which are continually ‘kicked down the road,’ until the current incumbents have moved on and the unpopular decisions are given to someone else.
There are many incredible advances in technology and treatments coming to market now, which can certainly improve the lives of many of us affected by cancer. But the dreadful infrastructure that we currently have, means that it will be much longer before most will benefit. Independent organisations and charities can only go so far but are then stopped in their tracks by some political ‘log jam.’ I am ashamed by what I see now, total lack of leadership and no real concern for the issues we are currently facing in society. Healthcare, education and law enforcement, the basics required by any society are being left to muddle on with no long term plans. As staff, disillusioned with their working conditions, leave in droves.
None of us deserve this! The incredible nursing staff on the front line should be working in much better conditions, which will naturally create a better environment for patients. All these changes will take strong leadership making many unpopular decisions, but someone must grasp this nettle quickly! Current politics has divided our society badly, but healthcare is something we should be united about. I personally believe that the state of the nations healthcare is far too important for politicians to be meddling in. They use it as some political football, each blaming the other for the issues we face now. If this continues for the next few years the NHS as we know it will look very different, due to years of stagnation.
I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful care I have received so far but I worry about my children and grandchildren now! We must not let lazy politicians destroy our healthcare by lack of action! Apparently I am the most influential cancer patient in this country, but I can’t change things on my own. There is already a hardcore of people like me working online and in person to ensure time is of the essence. If you would like to help us please feel free to follow on social media and share your own experiences and ideas.