Where has their campaigning spirit gone?
According to official statistics, Britain’s cancer survival rate has plummeted in the past decade from 13th in Europe to 25th (WHO, NAO, Cancer Research UK, etc) Deloitte reports “adults with cancer continue to have lower five-year survival than in many other comparable countries for several common cancers:”
Yet survivors find charities can seem more concerned about ‘brand awareness’, than campaigning for better care. A recent TV ad shows what happens when cancer is discovered, but says nothing about what can be done to improve care once preliminary treatment is finished.
Survivors are still reporting they feel ‘abandoned’ once hospital treatment finishes
Britain has a ‘post code lottery’ over funding for cancer care, Survivors who move from one UK area to another have discovered there are variations in care – which can mean they don’t receive adequate help when dealing with many long-term side effects. You would think this glaring anomaly is something charities could get their teeth into, but nothing happens. Enquiries produce a negative response, yet these charities have the clout to do an enormous amount to address anomalies and get fairer care for all.
It’s time for cancer patients to get on with demanding better care, and …
Along comes Chris Lewis of the SimPal Charity
Chris has been working in this sector for more than 10 years. And has just written on his website “many current campaigns I am seeing for the 2nd or 3rd time.
They obviously have had little impact with their previous appearances yet
decisions have been taken to spend more money bringing them back”.
So who is to blame for this? Most people would blame the Government, which is currently easy and common. But Chris believes that with proper collaborative working between charities and patients, we could/should have changed many things that are still on the list. No business would still be spending money on the same problems 10 years later, it just doesn’t make financial sense!
What can you do?
Actually, there is a lot one can do. We are a wonderful group, and respond generously whenever a charity sends an appeal. But now, I have decided the cheques I used to send off for Raffles, funds, etc. are staying in my bank, and I am using this to run my own mini-campaigns.
It’s surprising what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
- a) Approach CEO (Chief Executive) of hospital. Don’t be fobbed off with PALS (overworked), but the CEO’s Secretary usually knows whom to approach!
- b) Try your MP – and also don’t forget you have an MEP in Brussels (until Brexit sorts itself out).
- c) If applicable, get the Unions on your side: Unite and/or Unison are the two biggies.
- d) Contact relevant Associations such as Royal Osteoporosis Society, Lymphoedema Support Network, Scope, Age UK etc. All of these have a ‘get up and go’ attitude. Although they may not have staff to actively campaign, they can usually give pointers where to go.
- e) Contact Patients’ Association.
- f) Get other patients involved. This can be difficult, and don’t be surprised if they shy away and say “I don’t want to be involved”. There is a mind-set that believes if it complains they will be marked – and there is nothing you can do about this except move on to the next person. And believe me, eventually you will find a like-minded patient and the two of you will be formidable.
If you need facts…
There wasn’t a murmur from any major cancer charity when the The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry came out with “the UK spends over 20 per cent less per person on cancer than the top five EU economies; 20 per cent less of its total health budget on cancer than the rest of the EU; and 10 per cent less of its GDP on healthcare than the rest of the EU. https://www.abpi.org.uk
And if you want inspiration, no French doctor would have dared tell a Frenchwoman her skin problems “are due to your age”, as an NHS doctor tried to do to me.
Neither would an American woman have taken it lying down if US healthcare tried to operate a post-code lottery.
If you are refused a Mammogram, just remind ‘them’ the Dowager Empress of Japan is 84 and has just had a breast cancer op. So that knocks ageism on the head!
Go for it – and have some fun!