No I am not talking about the behaviour of our politicians, as I certainly don’t want to give any single one of them the publicity oxygen they so crave. Unfortunately our NHS is controlled by these people and it is now easy for everyone to see why things are in a complete mess. Year after year the big decisions have been ignored causing delay upon delay for both patients and staff. We are now in the position where we are short of key staff and our infrastructure is crumbling, in more ways than one!
The service is an incredibly difficult place to work and morale on the whole is low. This is not something that can be solved by money alone. I would like to talk specifically about the cancer care area of the service. When I was diagnosed back in 2007 we were just starting to appreciate the rising numbers, talking about 1 person in 2 being affected by cancer by 2020. Well here we are, and that shocking projection is absolutely right! But are we prepared for it? Of course not, we are still arguing about what is required and who is going to pay for it.
The cancer report plans are continually running late, sometimes by years, making them almost out of date before they are published. But the people in charge stay in their roles whilst continuing towards their pensions in a system that keeps on giving, if you are working in it! Who actually is responsible for this mess? Minister of health? They are all too busy on the political ‘save yourself roundabout’ to worry about cancer care. How long will any of them be in the job anyway?
Cancer care in this country has many senior members of management, with so many committees responsible for every aspect of what happens in the sector, but where are these people when we need them? Finally we have a report from Sir Mike Richards who is to oversee an improvement in cancer screening in this country. This gentleman has incredible experience in cancer care and is probably the best person for this role. His report is due to be published soon, but an advanced summary was in the papers recently.
The headline read as follows. “Confusion and delays by those in charge of the country’s screening programmes are costing lives, an independent review will warn, calling for Public Health England to be stripped of responsibility.” Also “In 2003, experts recommended the introduction of a new type of home screening for bowel cancer, with better accuracy based on just one sample. Yet the system of “FIT” tests only began being introduced by the NHS this June.” Yes that is 16 years later!!
To add to that the two largest cancer charities in this country, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support spend millions of £££s lobbying Government, but to what end? They have whole departments just dealing with politicians. Great for a photo opportunity and a press quote but other than that nothing! Why are all these people and organisations so quiet at what is a terrible time for cancer patients in this country? My personal theory is that they must be content the way things are! Having said that they have just written a combined letter to the Prime Minister, whoopee!!
Nobody is putting pressure on the people in charge of the cancer sector, as the politicians are too busy looking for their ‘lifeboats.’ If the news is consistently bad and cancer remains in the spotlight will those charities benefit from an increase in income? These organisations have plenty of money to spin the advertising to their advantage. I really am questioning everyone involved in what I believe to be a national scandal, far more important than the dreaded Brexit! People are dying NOW, and daily, why are we all just sitting back and watching it happen?
Everyone asks me, but what can I do? Start by making a noise at least and choose carefully where you donate your money. Make your views known through social media. We can all start working together against this travesty. I am not talking for me but my children and grandchildren. Pollution of our planet is a big subject but now we have several individuals making a real fuss across the world and people are listening! Sure the last thing you want to do when you are sick is start arguing with the system, but let’s do it before that happens.
We like to tell other countries how they should be run, but we can’t even get our cancer screening right. Cancer should unite us and not be the division that makes us weak!
As always these are my personal views and experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.